What Attorneys, CPAs, Financial Planners and Realtors Should Know About 1031 Exchanges

Business Advisors, including Attorneys, CPAs and Financial Planners as well as Realtors are Often the First to Recognize the Potential Benefits of a Section 1031 Exchange to a seller of real estate. When a seller is going to replace qualifying real estate with replacement real estate, a Section 1031 Exchange should be suggested. It is possible for a seller to employ the services of an Exchange Intermediary at any time after a contract is executed up to the day of closing on the contract. It is too late after the closing has occurred.

Accommodation Language in the Contract. Accommodation language is usually placed in the Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate wherein the other party to the contract is informed and agrees to cooperate with the 1031 exchange. Typical accommodation language might read as follows:

  • For a Seller – “A material part of the consideration to the seller for selling is that the seller has the option to qualify this transaction as a tax deferred exchange under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code. Purchaser agrees to cooperate in the exchange provided purchaser incurs no additional liability, cost or expense.”
  • For a Buyer – “This offer is conditional upon the seller’s cooperation at no cost to allow the purchaser to participate in an exchange under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code at no additional cost or expense. Seller hereby grants buyer permission to assign this Contract to an Intermediary not withstanding any other language to the contrary in this Contract”.

Accommodation language is not mandatory and can be omitted if it puts the taxpayer at a disadvantage for other parties to know about his plan to sell and replace property under IRC §1031 and related closing pressures under the exchange ’time clocks.”

Assignment of Contracts. If a Realtor knows that a buyer intends to assign the contract to an Intermediary in connection with an exchange, it is helpful to reference the buyer as “John Doe or Assigns” on the contract.

Another way to make the contract “assignable” is for an addendum to the contract to be prepared by the Realtor making the contract “assignable.”

Settlement Statements. Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code imposes no requirements and provides no guidance with respect to preparation of settlement statements for an exchange of property. The Colorado Real Estate Commission has no special requirements concerning exchanges involving an Intermediary.

Intermediaries often instruct closers to name the Intermediary as the seller of a property on behalf of their client. This is not required by IRC §1031 and creates additional closing burdens since it requires the Intermediary to sign the settlement statements.

An occasional (but unnecessary) practice is for the title company closing on the transaction to prepare a second set of settlement statements in which the Intermediary is shown as a buyer and seller. The Intermediary’s set of statements “mirror” each other as to debits and credits. The thinking here is that the settlement statements should reflect a “chain of title.” This practice is not required by IRC §1031.

Recommendation:  prepare one set of settlement statements in the normal manner which total to zero proceeds due to or from the Exchanger. The settlement statements should be made to total to zero proceeds due to or from the Exchanger by showing a debit or credit for “Exchange Funds – 1031 Corporation” as a transaction item “above the bottom line”. The amount of “Exchange Funds” is the amount of funds being transferred to or from the Intermediary in connection with the closing.