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1031 Exchange Of Vacation Property Or Second Home May Qualify

Can a vacation home qualify for a 1031 Tax-Deferred Exchange? Most tax and exchange professionals think so to the extent that the vacation home is used partly for rental purposes. For instance, if the vacation home is used 50% for personal use and 50% for rental or investment purposes, then 50% of the property is qualifying property held for investment purposes. The personal use portion of the vacation home will not be eligible for 1031 Exchange treatment. If the vacation home is used 100% for personal use, it does not qualify.

What if the vacation home is used partly for personal use and partly for investment purposes but is never rented out? In this case, the answer is "it depends." It depends on the amount of personal use of the property by the taxpayer. Property held for personal use does not qualify as investment property. However, mere incidental personal use of property that is otherwise considered investment property does not disqualify the property from 1031 Exchange treatment. "Incidental personal use" is not defined by the IRS. Personal use of a vacation home for anything other than "incidental personal use" will disqualify a property if it is never rented out by a taxpayer.

Under what circumstances can all of the vacation home (100%) qualify for a 1031 Exchange? If a taxpayer's dwelling is a 100% rental property if the taxpayers personal use of the property is less than the greater of 15-days, or 10% of the number of days during the year for which the dwelling is rented (at fair market value rents).

If none of these rules will work for a taxpayer because of disqualifying personal use of the vacation home, then the taxpayer should consider converting the property to a qualifying investment property by discontinuing all personal use for a year or more to position the property for a 1031 Exchange. At the same time, be sure to report all of expenses related to the property as "investment related expenses." Renting the property will be a definite help for this purpose but is not mandatory.

New Safe Harbor was created by the IRS for taxpayers who want assurance that their vacation home is a qualifying investment. The Rev Proc applies to any residence owned by the taxpayer in addition to a primary residence so it is broader in its application than mere "vacation homes."

The IRS says they will not challenge whether a residence qualifies as property held for use in a trade or business or for investment for purposes if the following requirements are met:

  • The relinquished residence is owned by the taxpayer during the 24-month period ending on the day before the date of the exchange,
  • The replacement residence is owned by the taxpayer during the 24-month period beginning on the day after the date of the exchange, and
  • Within each of the two 12-month periods immediately before the exchange and within each of the two 12-month periods immediately after the exchange –
  • the residence is rented to another person or persons at a fair rental for at least 14 days, and
  • the period of personal use does not exceed the greater of 14 days or 10% of the days the residence is rented at a fair rental.

A taxpayer is generally treated as using a residence for personal purposes for a day if the unit is used for personal purposes by:

  • The taxpayer or any other person who has an interest in the dwelling unit or by a member of the family of the taxpayer or the other person;
  • Any individual who uses the unit under a reciprocal use arrangement; or
  • By any individual (other than an employee whose use is excludable from income under §119-Use for the convenience of the employer) unless, for that day, the dwelling unit is rented for a fair rental.
  • Fair Rental - A "fair rental" is determined based on all the facts and circumstances when entering the rental agreement

Failure to meet the new safe-harbor requirements does not mean that the exchange automatically does not qualify for 1031 Exchange treatment. But it does mean that the IRS could challenge the taxpayer's exchange.

Disclaimer: 1031 exchange made simple does not guarantee the performance of the QI's in our referral network and we can not be held liable for any misrepresentations or mistakes in regards to a 1031 exchange by one of the QI's that we refer to you. 1031 Exchange made simple does not provide tax advice nor can we make representations regarding the tax consequences of an exchange transaction. 1031 Exchange made simple is a 1031 QI Referral Network. 1031 made simple is not responsible (in any way) for the performance, creditability, and financial condition of any QI in our network. In this new economic environment it is imperative that all potential 1031 exchange customers do their own due diligence and research on any QI that they may use, on a 1031 exchange. Please verify and check the validity of the Bonding and Insurance of your QI. It may be wise to have your 1031 exchange accounts set up as separate, individual customer accounts. Our web site is to be used as a information based web site only. All parties doing a 1031 exchange must consult their tax advisors or attorney for this information.

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