What Happens To Depreciation In A 1031 Exchange?

Real estate investments are complex, and one of the most important aspects to consider is depreciation. But what happens to depreciation in a 1031 exchange? This article will answer that question and provide an overview of the rules and regulations surrounding depreciation for 1031 exchanges.

For those unfamiliar with 1031 exchanges, they are a tax-deferred real estate transaction that allows investors to defer capital gains taxes on the sale of a property if they reinvest their proceeds into another like-kind investment. A key component of this process is understanding how depreciation affects the overall tax implications.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at how depreciation works during a 1031 exchange and discuss some of the ways investors can maximize their savings when completing these transactions. Keep reading to learn more about what happens to depreciation in a 1031 exchange.

Definition Of 1031 Exchange

A 1031 exchange, also known as a “Like-Kind” exchange, is a tax-deferred exchange of one real estate asset for another. It allows investors to defer capital gains and depreciation recapture taxes on the sale of an investment property by reinvesting the proceeds into another similar property. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that all 1031 exchanges must be completed within 180 days of the sale of the original property.

When an investor sells a real estate asset and participates in a 1031 exchange, their gain or loss is deferred until they eventually sell their replacement property and realize their gain or loss. Depreciation taken on the original property will not be recognized until the replacement property is sold. This means that any accumulated depreciation on the original asset will become part of the cost basis in the replacement property, which can help reduce taxation when it is eventually sold.

It’s important to note that in order for an investor to take full advantage of this tax deferral mechanism, they must use all proceeds from the sale of their original asset to purchase a replacement property that has equal or greater value than what was sold.

Overview Of Depreciation

Moving on from the definition of a 1031 exchange, let’s discuss depreciation. In a 1031 exchange, depreciation is not affected and remains in place. This means that any depreciation taken prior to the exchange still applies after the exchange has been completed.

Depreciation is an important aspect of a 1031 exchange since it allows for deferred taxes to be paid on capital gains. As long as the taxpayer holds onto their newly acquired property, they can continue deferring taxes on any capital gains until the property is sold or exchanged again.

When it comes time to sell or exchange the property, all accumulated depreciation must be taken into account when calculating taxes due. Any remaining proceeds from sales can then be reinvested in another 1031 property without having to pay taxes on capital gains if all requirements are met.

How 1031 Exchange Impacts Depreciation

The 1031 exchange is a powerful tool that allows investors to defer capital gains taxes when exchanging investment or business property. As part of this exchange, the depreciation of the original property held is also deferred. This means that the investor does not report and pay capital gains tax on any accumulated depreciation, as it will transfer to the new property upon completion of the 1031 exchange.

When an investor completes a 1031 exchange, they are able to apply all of their accumulated depreciation on their original property to the new property they acquired. This process is referred to as “carryover” depreciation and can be used when computing taxable income from rental activities or other sources of revenue from the newly acquired asset. For example, if an investor had purchased a rental property for $100k that depreciated by $20k over five years, then sold it for $130k in a 1031 exchange, they would not owe any capital gains taxes on those $20k of depreciation expenses. Instead, these expenses would carryover to the new asset and allow them to claim deductions against future taxable income earned from this new asset.

By preserving their ability to carryover these depreciation expenses through completing a 1031 exchange, investors gain additional tax benefits while allowing them to defer paying any capital gains taxes until they dispose of their newly acquired asset in another sale or exchange. Therefore, investors should fully consider how taking advantage of a 1031 exchange impacts their ability to carryover any accumulated depreciation before making any decisions on selling or exchanging properties.

Understanding Tax Benefits

Depreciation is an important factor to consider in a 1031 exchange. This type of exchange allows you to defer capital gains taxes when exchanging like-kind real estate properties. The depreciation taken on the relinquished property can be used to offset any gain from the sale of that property, but it cannot be carried over onto the replacement property.

When you purchase a new asset through a 1031 exchange, you reset your depreciation clock, meaning that you must begin calculating your depreciation again from year one for the replacement property. Any remaining depreciation balance from the relinquished asset can be used in the current or future tax years, depending on if there is any additional gain taxable income generated.

It’s important to understand how taxation works with 1031 exchanges and how it affects your overall financial goals. Working with experienced professionals who understand these types of transactions can help ensure that your assets are properly managed and protected for future growth.

Qualified Replacement Property

Continuing with understanding tax benefits, it is important to discuss what happens to depreciation in a 1031 exchange. Depreciation is an important and beneficial tax break because it allows for the recovery of capital investment expenses over time. In a 1031 exchange, depreciation can be rolled over into the replacement property, allowing for continued write-offs over time. This means that the basis of the new property will include the depreciated value of the old property.

As such, when a taxpayer sells their existing property and purchases a new one through a 1031 exchange, they can defer paying taxes on all or some of their gains due to depreciation rollover. The taxpayer must also meet certain criteria in order to qualify for this benefit. The replacement property must have equal or greater equity than the one being sold and must be used for business or investment purposes. It is also important to note that if any cash proceeds are received during the 1031 exchange, those funds are not eligible for depreciation rollover.

Qualified Replacement Property is an important factor to consider when completing a 1031 exchange as it allows taxpayers to continue benefiting from their past investments while deferring payment of taxes until later down the line. This can help mitigate some of the financial burden associated with real estate transactions and provide more favorable long-term returns on investments

Deferring Taxes With An Exchange

When conducting a 1031 exchange, depreciation is deferred by the Internal Revenue Code. This means that the taxpayer can delay paying taxes on the depreciation until they dispose of their exchanged property. The gain from a 1031 exchange is not taxed until after the replacement property is sold or exchanged.

The IRS allows a taxpayer to defer recognition of any gain on an exchange of like-kind properties as long as specific rules are met. The transfer must be between two parties in an arms-length transaction, and both parties must be exchanging “like-kind” properties that are held for either investment or business purposes. Furthermore, the taxpayer must reinvest all proceeds from the sale into similar property and complete the exchange within 180 days of sale.

By exchanging like-kind properties, taxpayers can leverage their existing investments and postpone taxation on the appreciation of their assets until they dispose of them for cash or something else of value. This can greatly reduce current tax liability, allowing individuals to accumulate more wealth over time and give them greater financial flexibility to make larger investments when desired.

Basis Adjustment Rules

Having discussed how a 1031 Exchange can be used to defer taxes, let’s now look at the rules for basis adjustment and what happens to depreciation in an exchange. When an investor exchanges real property, they may receive either more or less than their original investment. In this case, the investor’s basis needs to be adjusted accordingly.

The basis of the replacement property is increased by the amount of any cash or other money received in the exchange, as well as any liabilities assumed in the exchange. On the other hand, it is decreased by any liabilities that were discharged in the exchange. The basis of both properties must be calculated separately to determine if there is a taxable gain or loss on each side of the transaction.

Depreciation is another factor that needs to be taken into consideration when adjusting for basis. If an investor receives more than their original investment, then their depreciation will increase proportionately with their new basis. Conversely, if they receive less than their original investment, then their depreciation will decrease proportionately with their new basis.

Calculating The Depreciation Deduction

When a 1031 exchange is used, depreciation is retained and transferred to the new property. This means that the depreciable basis of the old property is also transfered to the new property. As a result, any prior depreciation deductions taken on the original property will be deducted from the depreciable basis of the new property.

It is important to note that depreciation deductions are not allowed on properties acquired through a 1031 exchange until after they have been held for more than one year. Additionally, when calculating depreciation deductions for properties acquired through a 1031 exchange, it is necessary to recalculate the applicable recovery period for each asset based on its age at acquisition and its adjusted basis.

In order to calculate your depreciation deduction following a 1031 exchange, you must determine the adjusted basis of the exchanged property and then calculate its applicable recovery period before claiming any deduction. It is important to keep accurate records of all information related to your 1031 exchange in order to ensure proper calculation of your tax deductions.

Considerations For Investors

Once the depreciation deduction has been calculated, investors should take some time to consider the implications of performing a 1031 exchange. The exchange process allows investors to defer capital gains tax liability by exchanging an investment property for another. This can be beneficial if the investor is looking to continue investing in real estate but wants to avoid paying taxes on any profits gained from their initial investment.

However, it’s important to note that when a 1031 exchange takes place, the depreciation of the original property is deferred as well. This means that when it comes time for the investor to sell or dispose of the new property, they cannot deduct any losses incurred from depreciation on their taxes. Therefore, investors should carefully consider how much appreciation or depreciation they are likely to see from their exchanged property before deciding whether or not a 1031 exchange is right for them.

When weighing out their options, investors should also factor in other costs associated with a 1031 exchange such as legal fees and transfer taxes. Additionally, there are certain timelines and rules that must be followed during an exchange in order for it to qualify for deferral under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code. It’s important that all requirements are met so that no tax liability arises from the transaction. With careful consideration and planning, investors can make informed decisions about whether or not a 1031 exchange makes sense for their situation.

Potential Drawbacks Of 1031 Exchanges

A major drawback to 1031 exchanges is the loss of depreciation deductions. When a taxpayer sells a property, they are able to deduct the depreciation taken over the life of the asset. However, when that same asset is sold through a 1031 exchange, the depreciation deductions are lost. This can be especially costly if the property being exchanged has been held for many years and has significant accumulated value in its depreciation deduction.

Another potential drawback is that a 1031 exchange can become very complex and time consuming to complete, especially when multiple properties are involved. It’s important to ensure that all parties involved in the exchange comply with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, as failure to do so could result in costly penalties or even tax reversals.

Finally, taxpayers should also be aware that some states may impose their own rules regarding 1031 exchanges which could add additional complexity and costs. It’s important to consult an experienced real estate attorney when considering entering into a 1031 exchange, as they can provide advice on taxes owed, compliance issues and other potential drawbacks associated with the transaction.


In conclusion, a 1031 exchange is a great way for investors to defer capital gains taxes on the sale of an investment property. It’s important to understand how depreciation works in regards to this type of exchange and how it can impact your tax benefits. Understanding qualified replacement property and basis adjustment rules are key factors when considering a 1031 exchange. Additionally, being aware of the potential drawbacks is just as important so that you can make an informed decision. Ultimately, a 1031 exchange can be beneficial when done correctly – but it always pays to do your research beforehand!

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