what disqualifies a property from being used in a 1031 exchange?

what disqualifies a property from being used in a 1031 exchange?
Discover key factors that can disqualify a property from a 1031 exchange and how to ensure your real estate investment complies.

When you start a 1031 exchange, you want to use it to grow your investment plan. But it’s important to know what might stop a property from qualifying. The main thing is that both items in the trade must be similar, but you can’t swap personal stuff for real estate1.

Houses used for business or as an investment are the only ones that work. Your main house doesn’t count. Also, you’ve got to pick a new property in 45 days and finish the swap in six months, or you could lose tax benefits.

Table Of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding “like-kind” is pivotal; real property cannot be exchanged for personal property in a 1031 exchange.
  • Properties must be used for business or investment, not as a primary residence, to be eligible for a 1031 exchange.
  • Strict timelines govern the exchange process: identification must occur within 45 days and completion must occur within 180 days from the sale of the relinquished property.
  • Ensuring the cooperation of a Qualified Intermediary is critical for the exchange process, safeguarding against disqualification.
  • Beware of schemes that misrepresent the applicability of like-kind exchanges or suggest misuse of the Section 1031 provisions.
  • Keep informed of potential changes to the capital gain deferral limits and tax rate proposals that may impact future exchanges.

The Basics of 1031 Exchange Eligibility

When you want to delay paying capital gains taxes with property deals, knowing about 1031 exchange eligibility is crucial. This knowledge helps you grab tax benefits and stay within the law. Knowing details, like what counts as like-kind properties and the need for properties to be used in business, is essential for property owners.

Understanding 1031 Exchange Eligibility

Defining “Like-Kind” Properties

The heart of 1031 exchange eligibility is that the swapped properties must be “like-kind.” This means they’re of the same type, even if their quality differs. They must fit the same role in your investment setup. Any property held by individuals or companies qualifies if it’s used in business or as an investment.

Investment vs. Personal Use Properties

Knowing the difference between investment properties and personal-use properties is key for a 1031 exchange. You can swap investment places like rental houses but not personal ones like your main home. Your home may qualify if you turn it into a rental for a set time.

“Productive Use” Requirement for Business and Trade

For a 1031 exchange, properties must be actively used in business or trade. Just owning them isn’t enough. There are various exchange types, including ones that happen all at once or over time. Important deadlines are the 45-day mark for identifying which property you’ll exchange and finishing the process within 180 days.

It’s vital to report your exchange to the IRS using Form 8824. If you’re not sure about the rules, getting help from a pro is wise. This could keep you from making costly mistakes.

Type of Property Eligibility for 1031 Exchange Minimum Holding Period Productive Use in Trade/Business
Investment Real Estate Eligible Not specified by the IRS Required
Primary Residence Eligible after conversion to rental 2 years Required
Foreign Real Estate Eligible for non-U.S. exchanges Not specified by the IRS Required
Machinery/Equipment Ineligible post-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act N/A N/A
Real Estate Held Primarily for Sale Ineligible Sale within 12 months can trigger an audit N/A

By following IRS rules and properly categorizing properties, investors can make their portfolios grow. They turn it into a powerful tool for building and maintaining wealth.

Common Disqualifiers for Properties in 1031 Exchanges

It’s key to know the details of a 1031 exchange and spot what could disqualify a property. Knowing what makes some properties unfit can help you plan better. This option is crucial for those aiming to avoid capital gains tax.

Property disqualification for 1031 Exchange

Your main house or getaway spot can’t be swapped in a like-kind exchange. These personal use properties don’t fit within Section 1031’s rules. That section is meant for business or investment real estate.

Real estate meant for quick sale, like what developers or house flippers have, also can’t be exchanged1. The quick sell-off goes against the investment holding rule. The IRS also rules out some assets like stocks or bonds for Section 1031.

Getting money or other items too soon could lead to instant taxes, removing the tax-deferral perk of the exchange. It’s vital to follow the rules like finding new property in 45 days and finishing the swap in 180 days4.

Disqualifying Factor Description Impact on Exchange
Personal Use Assets Properties like primary residences or vacation homes Leads to ineligibility for 1031 treatment
Inventory Properties Properties held mainly for sale by developers or flippers Disqualifies assets as they’re considered inventory
Financial Instruments Assets such as stocks, bonds, and securities Exclude these assets from Section 1031 treatment
Receipt of Funds Premature receipt of cash or similar proceeds Results in immediate taxation, invalidating exchange benefits
Time Restrictions 45-day identification and 180-day completion limits Non-adherence can lead to a failed 1031 exchange

Getting help from a qualified intermediary can make sure you follow the rules, especially about getting funds too early. This can prevent a key disqualifier for 1031 exchanges.

Avoid risky tax moves that misuse like-kind exchanges, warns the IRS. Knowing which properties don’t qualify is important for a smooth legal exchange process.

Properties Held Primarily for Sale and the Impact on 1031 Eligibility

Understanding the difference between properties held for sale and for investment is key in a 1031 exchange. This difference affects if you can get tax benefits. It’s important to check IRS rules carefully.

Understanding Held for Sale vs. Held for Investment

Investment properties are preferred in 1031 exchanges. They are bought for long-term growth and to make money through business or renting5. But, properties meant for quick sale, like inventory, don’t qualify for Section 1031. This rule is for investment properties only.

The Significance of Intent and Property Usage

The IRS pays close attention to your intent and how you use the property. If it looks like you’re flipping the property, it might not qualify. Selling within 12 months of buying could raise a red flag15.

Timeframe Considerations for Eligibility

You have 45 days to pick a new property for the exchange. Quick decisions are crucial. The whole swap must be done within 180 days of selling your old property. Missing these deadlines can disqualify you.

To keep your 1031 exchange on track, ensure your sale properties don’t cause issues. Use Form 8824 to tell the IRS about the exchange. Remember, this rule doesn’t apply to stocks, bonds, or partnership shares. The swap must involve real property used in business or for investment to work.

Below is a critical timeline to follow to stay compliant with Section 1031:

Timeframe Consideration Requirement Outcome if not met
Identification Period 45 days from the sale of relinquished property Disqualifies the exchange
Exchange Completion 180 days after the sale of the relinquished property Disqualifies the exchange

Remember, the intent and property usage will often be the deciding factors in the IRS’s eyes for a 1031 exchange. Plan wisely to avoid missing out on tax benefits.

Impact of Primary Residency on 1031 Exchange Qualifications

Using a 1031 exchange to delay taxes on property sales is attractive. It promises bigger investment chances. But, can people use it for their main homes? Let’s explore what makes investment properties different from where you live.

Difference Between Investment Property and Primary Residence

Comparing investment property with primary residency in a 1031 exchange shows a clear line. Section 1031 boosts real estate investments by allowing tax deferral for those buying similar properties. However, your main home doesn’t qualify since it’s for personal use, not for making money or business.

Renting Out Your Primary Residence: Does It Qualify?

It might look like renting out your home could work. If your home becomes a rental, it seems closer to qualifying, yes? But, you must truly convert it into an investment used only for making money1. Also, you must wait a certain time before it can be part of a 1031 exchange.

Time-Related Restrictions for Converting a Residence to Rental Property

The IRS checks carefully before allowing your property into a 1031 exchange. First, you need to rent it out for at least two years. Keeping your investment for this time ensures you keep the tax benefits. Be careful of any cash you accidentally get, as it could affect the exchange.

Exclusion of Foreign Real Estate in 1031 Exchange Processes

When considering a 1031 exchange, know that U.S. properties are different from foreign ones. This rule is key to the foreign real estate exclusion1. So, properties in the U.S. can only be swapped for other U.S. properties. This encourages investing within the country. In a 1031 exchange, there are strict time limits. You must pick a new property within 45 days and own it within 180 days after selling your old property. Or does it have to be done by the tax return date.

The 1031 exchange offers tax breaks but doesn’t apply to trades of inventory, stocks, bonds, or other similar items. It focuses only on real estate deals. When swapping personal property, the rules are tighter than for real estate. Knowing what like-kind means is vital. For example, a rental house and vacant land can be swapped1.

Foreign real estate can’t be part of a 1031 exchange, emphasizing the focus on U.S. properties. But you can swap overseas investment properties for others outside the U.S. Each country has its own real estate laws. Getting advice from a tax expert is smart for international deals.

Remember these points when planning your investment approach. Following the IRS guidelines ensures you meet legal requirements, helping you maximize your investments while obeying the law.

What Disqualifies a Property from Being Used in a 1031 Exchange?

Figuring out a 1031 exchange can be tricky because you have to follow certain rules closely. We’ll examine what makes some properties and business types unable to participate in this tax-saving plan. Specifically, we’ll cover which assets and business structures could prevent you from delaying capital gains tax using this strategy.

Understanding Prohibited Property Types

Starting a 1031 exchange means knowing which assets don’t qualify. Assets that are not allowed include stocks, bonds, and certificates of trust. These are assets that don’t fit the ‘like-kind’ requirement. This rule is clearly outlined in the IRS’s 21st fact sheet from the Tax Gap series. It’s critical for those looking to delay taxes through like-kind exchanges.

Identifying Non-Qualifying Business Entities and Personal Assets

Confusing the wrong business structures and personal items for qualified ones can cause a property disqualification. This includes everything from a business’s personal goodwill to private collectibles. According to IRS rules, These items differ from properties meant for investment or business, which might be okay for a 1031 delay, as long as they’re used for the right reasons1.

Exchange Deadlines and Violation of Terms

Time plays a huge role in a 1031 exchange. You have a 45-day period to pick out the new property and 180 days to complete the switch1. Breaking these time limits or handling cash too soon, especially without a third party helping, could ruin the delay1. It’s also key to pick a trustworthy middleman. Recently, some have gone bankrupt, resulting in lost tax delays1.

Aspect Requirement Consequence of Non-Compliance
Property Type Must be like-kind investment or business assets Disqualification
Business Entity Must qualify under IRS regulations Disqualification
Time Limits 45-day identification period, 180-day completion period Disqualification
Cash Control No premature receipt of cash/proceeds Disqualification
Intermediary Qualified intermediary required Potential disqualification

As an investor, you must watch for wrong advice on like-kind exchanges. This mistake can disqualify you and make you owe taxes, penalties, and interest. To keep things right, follow the IRS’s rules for these exchanges. This means filing the right forms and keeping detailed records of the properties and transactions involved1.


Knowing about 1031 exchange mistakes is key when dealing with property deals. To qualify, you must use your real estate for investment or business. Make sure to follow IRS rules. These say who can do a 1031 exchange: individuals, C corporations, S corporations, partnerships, and trusts1. There are strict deadlines, too. You have 45 days to pick new properties and 180 days to complete the swap1.

Being smart with your money is vital as real estate taxes change. Home prices went up by 13.3% in a year. It’s crucial to match your investment plan with the market. Tax rules, like the 25% tax on selling investment property, seriously affect your investment results.

Doing your homework helps avoid problems that could ruin your 1031 exchange. Working with experts is a good idea to ensure your property swap goes smoothly. They can help ensure you’re doing everything right for a successful exchange.


What disqualifies a property from being used in a 1031 exchange?

A property might not qualify for a 1031 exchange if it isn’t similar to the exchanged property. It must also be used in trade or as an investment. And certain property types and personal assets don’t qualify.

What are “like-kind” properties in a 1031 exchange?

“Like-kind” properties in a 1031 exchange are of the same nature. They must be the same type of investment, like rental homes or office buildings.

Can personal use properties qualify for a 1031 exchange?

Normally, personal-use properties don’t qualify for a 1031 exchange. But if converted into rentals and held for enough time, they might become eligible.

What is the “productive use” requirement for a property to qualify for a 1031 exchange?

For a 1031 exchange, a property must be used in a business to make money. For example, it could be a rental property or used in business operations.

What factors disqualify a property from being used in a 1031 exchange?

Many things can disqualify a property for a 1031 exchange. Some include properties for quick sale, stocks, foreign real estate, and partnership interests.

How does the IRS determine if a property is held primarily for sale?

The IRS checks how long you’ve had the property and your selling efforts. It likely won’t qualify for a 1031 exchange if sold quickly or marketed aggressively.

Can I use my primary residence in a 1031 exchange?

No, you can’t use your main home in a 1031 exchange. But turning it into a rental might make it eligible if held long enough.

Can foreign real estate be exchanged for U.S. real estate in a 1031 exchange?

No, US and foreign real estate can’t be swapped in a 1031 exchange. But, you can exchange foreign property for another if it’s held for business.

What are some prohibited property types in a 1031 exchange?

Some items can’t be used in a 1031 exchange. These include stocks, bonds, and interests in partnerships. Certain business entities and personal assets are also excluded.

How important is it to comply with exchange deadlines and terms?

Following the IRS’s deadlines and rules closely is key in a 1031 exchange. Working with pros helps ensure you do everything right.

How can investors navigate the 1031 exchange process effectively?

Knowing what stops a property from being used in a 1031 exchange helps investors. Getting advice from experts and learning about IRS rules are crucial steps.

Source Links

  1. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/fs-08-18.pdf
  2. https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/issues/2022/jan/like-kind-exchanges-real-property.html
  3. https://www.realized1031.com/blog/what-would-disqualify-a-property-from-being-used-in-a-1031-exchange
  4. https://www.accruit.com/blog/what-are-rules-identification-and-receipt-replacement-property-irc-§1031-tax-deferred-exchange
  5. https://www.taxnotes.com/research/federal/usc26/1031
  6. https://www.cwscapital.com/what-is-a-1031-exchange/

About the author

Nathan Tarrant

Nathan has worked in financial services, marketing, and strategic business growth for over 30 years. He was the founder and COO of a Queens award-winning financial services company based in the UK, and a capital investment company in Virginia USA..

He operated as a financial & alternative investment advisor to delegates of the UN, World Health Organization, and senior managers of Fortune 500 companies in Geneva, Switzerland, after the 2008 financial crash.

As an avid investor, especially in alternative investments, he runs this blog Altinvestor.net, sharing his growing experience and views on alternative investments. You can see Nathan's full profile at his personal website nathantarrant.com
You can read his full bio on our about us page