Washington Report

Advocacy Updates from Washington D.C.

Following requests by NAR and other real estate trade groups that real property owners involved in 1031 like-kind exchanges are being prevented from meeting certain statutory deadlines, the Internal Revenue Service recently issued Notice 2020-23 granting relief.  

Specifically, in order for real property exchanges to qualify for non-recognition of gain (tax deferral treatment), the owner has to identify a possible replacement property within 45 days of relinquishing the former property. The rules also require that the exchanger must close on the acquisition of the replacement property within 180 days of trading the first property.  

However, the current COVID-19 pandemic has prevented many individuals and businesses who are in the middle of a like-kind exchange from being able to make these deadlines.  For example, meeting the 45-day deadline for identifying a property to acquire can be impossible if access is not granted to investigate the property to determine its desirability. Likewise, those who are approaching the 180-day deadline for closing on a replacement property can find it impossible to do so because of the shutdown of title companies and other problems resulting from the widespread closure of business operations around the nation.  

Notice 2020-23 provides that time-sensitive actions, such as the 45-day and the 180-day deadlines under Section 1031, which fall between April 1 and July 14, 2020, are automatically delayed until July 15, 2020. So, for example, if a property owner entered into a like-kind exchange by transferring the prior parcel on March 10, 2020, he or she would normally be required by the 45-day rule to identify a replacement property by April 24, 2020. In this case, the Notice delays the 45-deadline until July 15, 2020.  

NAR has expressed gratitude for the deadline relief but noted in a subsequent letter to the Treasury Department that those with 1031 like-kind exchange deadlines occurring from March 13 (the start of the COVID-19 disaster) through March 31, 2020, were not covered by the Notice. The letter requests deadline relief for those with deadlines falling between these dates also.  

Separately, Notice 2020-23 also includes relief for those planning to roll over capital gains from a prior investment into an Opportunity Fund. Such investors also are given until July 15, 2020, to make the rollover if the 180-day requirement under the Opportunity Zone rules falls between April 1 and July 14, 2020.

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