The benefits of 1031 exchanges can be significant for taxpayers who own investment property. Taxpayers have the potential to defer all capital gain taxes, depreciation recapture, the net investment income tax( NIIT), and state taxes. If the requirements of a valid 1031 exchange are met, capital gain recognition will be deferred until the taxpayer chooses to recognize it.

An Example

A married couple filing jointly sells an investment property in California for $1,000,000 (net of closing costs) with no debt. The couple originally purchased the property for $400,000. Seventy-five percent, or $300,000 of the initial purchase price, was allocated to the building and has been fully depreciated. The capital gain is approximately $900,000 (today’s sales price of $1,000,000 minus the net adjusted basis of $100,000). This is the only source of the couple’s investment income. The couple’s modified adjusted gross income is $1,400,000 (which includes income from other sources and capital gain from this sale) for purposes of calculating the net investment income tax. The couple will be taxed at 25% for their prior depreciation deductions taken, 20% federal capital gains tax rate, the 3.8% net investment income tax and they will be in the 13.3% California state tax bracket.


Today’s Net Sales Price (after closing costs) $1,000,000
Less taxes owed
$300,000 deprecation recapture @ 25%
$600,000 federal capital gain @ 20%
$900,000 net investment income tax @ 3.8%
$900,000 state tax @ 13.3%
Total taxes owed

= $75,000
= $120,000
= $34,200
= $119,700
= $348,900

After-Tax Net Equity
$1,000,000 – $348,900
= $651,100
1031 Exchange Gross Equity
Taxable Sale: Net Equity x 4
1031 Exchange: Gross Equity x 4


The California taxpayers in this example could potentially purchase a replacement property that is worth approximately $1.4 million more by performing a 1031 exchange instead of a taxable sale. Exchanges provide the opportunity to preserve equity, increase cash flow from larger replacement properties, and enable taxpayers to maximize return on investment.

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