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1031 Tips: Deferred Like-Kind Exchange Deadlines – The Basics

When it comes to a 1031 exchange, deadlines aren't simply a suggestion; they can make or break your exchange. Learn about the different critical deadlines so you don't put your exchange at risk.
Seller Financing 1031 Exchange

Despite working with like-kind exchanges (LKEs) for a number of years, we never tire of discussing the basics. That’s because, despite structural intricacies, LKEs are, at their core, deadline and document driven. It’s these basics that build a strong foundation for understanding LKEs as they increase in complexity. For this month’s LKE tip, let’s consider some basics and focus on exchange deadlines.

LKEs generally consist of two separate deadlines:

The 45-day window is frequently referred to as the “identification period,” while the 180-day window is often called the “exchange period.” Note that both deadlines are triggered on the same date and run concurrently.

In a standard Delayed Exchange (taxpayer sells first and buys at a later date), both deadlines are triggered on the date ownership of the relinquished property is transferred. Under the standard A Reverse Exchange is typically conducted under the safe harbor established in Rev Proc 2000-37. These are "parking arrangements" where either: (i) a property is purchased and "parked" as a potential replacement property for the benefit of a specific taxpayer by an exchange accommodation title holder until such time as the taxpayer arranges for the transfer of the relinquished property to the ultimate transferee in a simultaneous or deferred exchange; or (ii) a taxpayer transfers the relinquished property to be "parked" by an exchange accommodation title holder in exchange for immediately receiving the replacement property, and the exchange accommodation title holder later transfers the relinquished property to the ultimate transferee Reverse Exchange structure (buy first, sell later), both deadlines are triggered on the initial ownership transfer date of the replacement property. However, for both types, the counting of days doesn’t actually begin until the day after ownership transfer occurs.

In order to complete a valid 1031 exchange, the replacement property must be both:

  • properly identified by midnight on day 45 and
  • received by midnight on day 180.

A couple other things to note:

Furthermore, as we approach the end of the calendar tax year, it is vital to fully understand the 180-day deadline. The regulations clearly specify the exchange period as:

“..the date the taxpayer transfers the relinquished property and ends at midnight on the earlier of the 180th day thereafter or the due date (including extensions) of the taxpayer’s return of the tax imposed by chapter 1 of subtitle A of the Code for the taxable year in which the transfer of the relinquished property occurs.”

In short, if you are participating in a like-kind exchange, be sure to review the due date of your tax return and contemplate the need to apply for an extension of time to file. Otherwise, you might find yourself with an unexpectedly short exchange period.