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How to Report 1031 Exchange on Tax Return

November 24, 2023

Reporting a 1031 Exchange on your tax return involves detailing your transaction to show you’re compliant with IRS rules while swapping like-kind properties. It’s a crucial step that helps prove that your exchange transactions qualify for tax deferral under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Understanding how to properly report the 1031 exchange on your tax return helps you stay compliant and avoid legal consequences such as disqualification and tax liabilities. To be sure you’re following the right steps, consult with our experts at Universal Pacific 1031 Exchange so we can guide you throughout the process.

In this article, we’ll break down the steps and things you need to take to report a 1031 Exchange properly on your tax return.

Steps to Report a 1031 Exchange on Your Tax Return

Steps to Report a 1031 Exchange on Your Tax Return

The IRS provides some general instructions on how to report your exchange on tax returns. Here’s a summary of the key steps.

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Documentation

As per the IRS requirements, there are certain documents you must include while reporting your 1031 exchange. These documents are proof of the different transactions at different stages. Let’s consider the key documents required.

Settlement Statement from the Sale of the Relinquished Property

This statement outlines the details of the relinquished property sale, including the sale price, closing costs, and any fees associated with the transaction. It’s an important record that helps ascertain that the sale of relinquished property is compliant.

Settlement Statement from the Purchase of the Replacement Property

Like its counterpart, the replacement property statement shows the details of the like-kind replacement property acquisition, such as the purchase price, closing costs, and any expenses incurred during the purchase. 

Documentation of the Intermediary’s Involvement

This might include the agreement with your Qualified Intermediary (QI), emails, or any messages showing how they helped you with the exchange.

Step 2:  Fill out IRS Form 8824

Form 8824 serves as the official document for reporting your 1031 Exchange to the IRS. Make sure you carefully complete each section to align with the exchange requirements. You must report your exchanges by submitting Form 8824 and filing it together with your federal income tax return.

You must complete a different form for each exchange if you did multiple exchanges within the tax year. If your 1031 exchange spills over two tax years, you’ll report the installment sale income with the IRS form 6252.

Here’s a detailed guide for completing each part of the form.

  • Give proper details on both the relinquished and replacement properties. This includes the property descriptions, the date you got them and made the transfer, as well as their respective fair market values.
  • Next, figure out the gain or loss from the exchange. Start by subtracting the adjusted basis of the relinquished property from the fair market value of the relinquished property to see if there’s any gain or loss.
  • If applicable, describe any aspects of the partial tax-deferred exchange not reported on Form 8824 in previous years.

Step 3: Report Any Boot Received

Report Any Boot Received

Boot refers to non-like-kind property received in an exchange. For example, when you receive cash or property of lower value in an exchange, it’s termed a “boot.” You’ll report this received boot on Form 8824, specifically under Part III, Line 18b.

Step 4: Adhere to the IRS Timeline for 1031 Exchange

Make sure you stick to the 1031 Exchange timeline set by the IRS. This timeline covers two crucial periods: the 45-day identification phase and the 180-day exchange period. Failure to meet any of these deadlines may potentially disqualify your exchange and make you liable to tax liabilities.

Step 5: Seek Professional Assistance

Considering the complexities involved, consulting qualified tax professionals or advisors is advisable for expert guidance. Their expertise may help you maintain accurate reporting and compliance, and maximize the exchange benefits.

Also, seeking guidance from an experienced Qualified Intermediary (QI) can help ease the process. Our CPA-licensed professionals at Universal Pacific 1031 Exchange possess over 30 years of experience, which guarantees you reliable support throughout your reporting process.

Step 6. Maintain Thorough Records

Keep accurate records of the details of your exchange transactions, including dates, property details, intermediary involvement, and any correspondence. Comprehensive record-keeping aids in future tax filings and compliance audits.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Reporting 1031 Exchanges

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Reporting 1031 Exchanges

  • Missing Deadlines: Not meeting IRS time limits (45/180 days) can disqualify your exchange and make your transactions liable to capital gains tax.
  • Valuation Mistakes: Getting property values wrong can mess up tax calculations, impacting what you owe or gain.
  • No Qualified Intermediary (QI): Skipping a QI could cancel your exchange, making you lose tax benefits. 
  • Not Reporting: Even if you don’t owe tax, not reporting can break IRS rules. This could result in penalties, audits, or even disqualification of your exchange, risking your chance of getting the tax deferral benefit.
  • Bad Record-Keeping: Incomplete records might cause trouble during audits or filings.
  • Ignoring Requirements: Adding the wrong properties or not following IRS rules can cancel your exchange.
  • Tax Implication Problems: Not understanding taxes can cause you to incur unexpected bills or mistakes in tax forms.

Case Study: A Real-Life Scenario of Reporting a 1031 Exchange

Case Study: A Real-Life Scenario of Reporting a 1031 Exchange

Here’s John, a savvy real estate investor looking to sell his commercial property but worried about the capital gains taxes. Instead of just selling his property, John opted for a tax-deferred exchange. Within 45 days of selling his property, John identified a new like-kind replacement property. With the help of a QI, he was able to complete the exchange within the 180-day timeline.

Yet, meeting the IRS deadlines wasn’t the only challenge. Determining the accurate values of the replacement property was a bit challenging. However, John’s careful planning and collaboration with the QI ensured everything went well and they reported the exchange accordingly.

John’s experience highlighted the importance of meticulous planning, working closely with experts like his QI, sticking to deadlines, and accurately valuing properties. These steps were the keys to maximizing the benefits of a successful exchange.

Future Outlook: Potential Changes in 1031 Exchange Regulations

Future Outlook: Potential Changes in 1031 Exchange Regulations

The Biden administration proposes capping the 1031 exchange, suggesting its favoritism towards wealthy investors. The fiscal year 2024 budget suggests a “capped deferral,” limiting capital gains deferral to $500,000 per individual yearly ($1 million for joint filers), aiming for an annual revenue gain of $1.5 billion – $2.2 billion.

To stay informed about potential adjustments in tax laws as they relate to 1031 exchanges. you should:

  • Regularly check government websites and official tax announcements for proposed changes.
  • Seek advice from tax professionals specializing in real estate and tax law.
  • Participate in real estate or investment forums to stay updated on potential regulatory shifts.
  • Keep an eye on IRS guidelines and publications related to 1031 Exchanges.
  • Stay informed about legislative discussions on real estate and capital gains tax reforms.


Precise and thorough reporting of 1031 Exchanges on your tax returns helps you stay compliant with IRS regulations, reduces the risk of audits, and safeguards against potential penalties.

To stay compliant, it’s necessary to consult with a tax advisor or a qualified intermediary for expert services and guidance.

Our team of licensed professionals at Universal Pacific Exchange is ready to offer expert guidance for a seamless and accurate reporting of 1031 Exchanges on your tax returns. Schedule a complimentary consultation with us today to start your exchange.

About The Author

Michael Bergman, CPA
Michael Bergman is a California licensed CPA and Real Estate Broker with over 32 years of experience in commercial real estate. Specializing in 1031 tax-deferred exchanges and financial oversight, his expertise is invaluable for complex real estate transactions. Michael’s unique blend of financial acumen and real estate knowledge positions him as a trusted advisor in the industry, offering sound advice and strategic insights for successful property management and investment.

Don’t let taxes hinder your property investment decisions. Connect with us today for a free, no-obligation 1031 exchange consultation. Let us help you navigate the process with ease.