1031 Exchange Do’s and Don’ts

DO plan in advance.

Advanced planning is key to success in any exchange. Particular attention must be given to the timing of the sale of the relinquished property, estimating equity and debt replacement objectives to avoid boot, and retaining an expert qualified intermediary.

DO NOT be tardy on your deadlines.

The IRS will not honor the exchange if either the 45-day identification period is missed, or replacement property is not acquired within the 180 day exchange period.

DO make every effort to sell before you purchase.

If you identify an ideal replacement property before your relinquished property is sold, then you may have to negotiate a reverse exchange (i.e., buying before selling). The IRS has provided guidance on this type of reverse exchange in Revenue Procedure 2000-37, but a reverse exchange is considered a more aggressive type of exchange as either the replacement property or the relinquished property must be parked with an Exchange Accommodator Titleholder for 180 days, pending the successful completion of the exchange.

DO NOT change how title is held during the exchange.

Changing how title to your property is being held or dissolving partnerships during the exchange may cause the exchange to be dishonored due to holding-period issues.

DO be mindful of the "napkin test" in a balanced exchange.

The two components of the napkin test are:

  • If you are trading down in total value, you are potentially taxable to the extent of the trade-down;
  • If you are trading down in equity, you are potentially taxable to the extent of the trade-down.