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Sometimes You Lose When You Win!

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April 30th, 2012

The Tax Court recently ruled in favor of a taxpayer regarding a Section 1031 exchange.  In the Reesink case (TC Memo 2012-118), the Tax Court indicated that the taxpayers were entitled to nonrecognition treatment on the purchase of a house that they ultimately moved into as their personal residence. 

Normally, you cannot sell investment property (such as farmland) and then purchase a house to live in.  This is considered to be non-like-kind property.  In the current case, the intent of the taxpayers were to purchase the house and then rent it out.  However, they were unable to get the rent they wanted and ultimately decided to sell their current home and move into the house they had just purchased as their replacement property.

The primary reason that the taxpayers won was their intent to rent the house out; however, taking this case to tax court and winning the victory probably cost them in excess of $50,o00 and many hours of effort and heartburn.

If the taxpayers had been diligent in providing the correct information to their tax preparer, most likely this would have never gone to tax court and/or  never been picked for an audit.  They never told the preparer that they were moving into the home and also under reported their rental income by over $16,000 for the year.

The bottom line is whenever you have a complicated tax situation, such as a 1031 exchange, you must review it with your tax advisor and even more importantly, provide all of the information to them so they can prepare a proper tax return.

Paul Neiffer

Paul Neiffer is a certified public accountant and business advisor specializing in income taxation, accounting services, and succession planning for farmers and agribusiness processors. Paul is a partner with CliftonLarsonAllen in Yakima, Washington, as well as a regular speaker at national conferences and contributor at agweb.com. Raised on a farm in central Washington, he has been immersed in the ag industry his entire life, including the last 30 years professionally. In fact, Paul drives combine each summer for his cousins and that is what he considers a vacation. Leave a comment for Paul. If you would like to leave a comment for Paul, follow the link above, however, please make sure to include your email address so that he can reply to your comment (your email address will not automatically show up).

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