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Do Not Let the Virus be an Obstacle to Selling Your Property: Know Your Options With A Section 453

The virus is affecting everything in our lives. Stay at home. Eat your own cooking. Home school your kids. Do not get your haircut. If only John Wayne was here to come to the rescue. Well, he is not coming to save the day but maybe I can when wanting to buy/sell real estate. That is correct. Do not let the virus be an obstacle in the real estate market.

Many property owners, when appropriate, want to transact a 1031 Exchange. However, because of the virus, have decided not to sell until the virus has passed. This is in large part due to the 45- and 180-day periods. Fortunately, the Treasury Department has extended the 45-day period until July 15 but is that the answer? What if sellers have not listed their properties yet so there is still no supply of properties to identify? The larger question is why sellers are even dealing with the 45-day period in order to defer taxes when there may be a better option.

That is right. A proprietary trust based on Section 453 may be a better option than a 1031, especially in the current environment.  Here are some of the reasons why you should consider 453 rather than 1031. Our proprietary trust has none of the 1031 requirements.  No dealing with a 45-day period, 180-day period, loan to value ratios, like-kind properties, or holding periods, and you do not have to get locked into a Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) as an emergency replacement property. Sell today, defer the capital gains tax, state tax, and depreciation recapture, and have an unlimited time to buy another property.

Consider the current situation with the virus. Let’s say that a seller has a buyer but will not sell because he is concerned about transacting a 1031. Using Section 453, the virus is no longer an issue to defer taxes. They can sell today, defer taxes today, and wait for the virus to end to buy another property. Also, consider this: If many sellers are waiting until the virus is basically over to bring their property to market, there could become an oversupply of properties and now you have a buyers’ market. That is great if you sold your property using Section 453 but not so good if you waited to sell.

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In a virus-free world, that is also an opportunity. Sell today in a sellers’ market, defer taxes, and wait until market conditions become more favorable to buying.  If you must wait 6 months or 2 years that is not a problem. Sell high and buy low. Even Einstein thinks that is smart – thanks, Al!

In addition, there are numerous other opportunities using Section 453. Quite often, depreciation plays a key role when owning a property. When you transact a 1031, you may not get a new depreciation schedule on the replacement property so even though a cost segregation study may be beneficial, it won’t be as beneficial as if you were to use Section 453 where you do get a complete new depreciation schedule. Using cost segregation and 453 has the potential to generate more real estate wealth than using a 1031.

Quite often, at some point, a property owner may want to sell and retire and does not want more real estate. He would like to find a 1031 exit strategy. A Delaware Statutory Trust is not a 1031 exit strategy but rather a 1031 continuation strategy and, at some point, taxes will have to be paid. If someone is in the wealth accumulation stage, a DST may make sense but it is not an appropriate retirement vehicle unless it’s a small part of someone’s estate. Again, at some point the Delaware Statutory Trust will no longer be an option and all the previous exchanges will become a taxable event and the basis will be the basis of the first original property. A DST only delays paying taxes.

The bottom line is, especially with the cloud of the virus hanging over the economy, Section 453 may be the real estate vaccine needed to keep the real estate market alive and well. If you can sell today, do so knowing that you can still defer your taxes today and either wait to buy another great property or to retire and go move closer to the grandkids and spoil them to get even with your kids for making you miserable when they were growing up. Maybe we do not need John Wayne because 453 may come to our rescue – seems only fair. Happy selling and be safe.

About the Author: David Fisher is the managing partner for Creative Real Estate Strategies, a national firm that can defer taxes on highly appreciated real estate when a 1031 isn’t appropriate or can’t be completed. He has been an RLI sponsor since 2006 and has sponsored over various RLI events nationwide. He can be reached at 713-702-6401 or david@cresknowsrealestate.com.

What You Need To Know to Make Taxes Less Taxing

This guest post was originally posted on National Land Realty‘s blog.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be construed as professional tax advice, always consult with your tax or financial advisor for additional information on how this will impact your personal or business tax situation.

As Margaret Mitchell wrote in Gone With The Wind: “Death, taxes, and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.” Land experts know how draining taxes can be.

The taxes associated with land sales are complex, and as soon as you feel like you’ve got a good grip on them, tax laws change! Even with the many changes that happen, there are some things that are set in stone. In this article, we take a look at the backbone of land taxes.

1031s Are Your Best Friend

Instead of paying taxes on the sale, 1031 exchanges let you invest the proceeds of your sale into a like-kind property. You can defer paying federal and state capital gains taxes.

If you’ve sold land before, you are probably familiar with using 1031s for land sales. But did you know that you can also sell conservation easements, water rights, development rights, and more while deferring taxes as well? This can save you hundreds or even thousands in tax dollars.

Although 1031s are an amazing resource for land buyers, there are strict rules about which properties do and do not qualify for this program. Be sure to check with a local land expert to see if your property qualifies before selling. You can also get started by reading through some official guidelines from the IRS.

Unique Tax Rules For Different Kinds of Land

Different land types come with different benefits and drawbacks.

  • Timberland: Each state taxes timber differently. For example, in Texas, timberland property is taxed by the appraised value multiplied by the tax rate. In Massachusetts, the tax is five percent of fair cash value, plus an enrollment fee and eight percent yield tax. To check your state’s unique rules, check out this handy website.
  • Vineyards: Small-time vineyard owners could be entitled to a sweet tax credit for making American wine. This Title 27 credit applies to producers who make under 250,000 gallons of wine a year in America. You can get up to a nine percent tax deduction. Bottoms up!
  • Agriculture: The most recent tax bill made many changes favorable for agriculture. Starting in the 2018 tax year, farmers can immediately write off up to one million dollars of capital purchases such as breeding livestock, farm equipment, and single-purpose structures.

Capital Gains Tax

A capital gain is defined as a profit from the sale of property or of an investment. This gain is taxable at the state level and the federal level.

This is where capital gains gets tricky. Each state has its own rules. In states like Texas or Nevada, you can expect to pay around twenty-five percent. In California or New York, you can expect to pay upwards of 30 percent! Here’s a tool from SmartAsset that can help you get a rough estimate of what you can expect to pay.

How High Are Capital Gains Taxes in Your State?

https://taxfoundation.org/how-high-are-capital-gains-taxes-your-state/

No one enjoys paying taxes. But having a solid sense of the fundamentals of land taxes can help you save your hard-earned money and make you (and your clients!) the most profitable deal possible. 1031 Exchanges are such a dense topic that we can’t possibly cover all there is to know in this article. If you’re a land pro and you’d like to learn more about helping your clients take advantage of 1031s, check out RLI’s November VILT-online course: Tax Deferred 1031 Exchanges. If you’re a landowner looking to learn more about how your property can benefit from these, make sure to contact a land expert near you to learn more.

About the Author: Laura Barker is the Membership and Communications Specialist for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.