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Like-Kind Property


Like-Kind Property refers to a type of property or assets that are similar in nature or character, regardless of differences in grade or quality. In the financial world, this term is often used in tax practices, specifically in 1031 exchanges, allowing the owner to avoid paying capital gains tax by reinvesting the proceeds of sale in a similar type of property. It is essential to note that real properties generally are of like kind, regardless of whether they’re improved or unimproved.


The phonetics of the keyword “Like-Kind Property” is: laɪk-kaɪnd ˈprɑpərti.

Key Takeaways

  1. Like-Kind Property in terms of real estate, refers to the IRS’s classification of property that, when exchanged, will not result in a recognized gain or loss for tax purposes under Section 1031. The traded properties are considered ‘Like-Kind’ if they are of the same nature, character, or class, irrespective of their quality or value.
  2. The ‘Like-Kind’ categorization can be used as a deferral strategy. Capital gains taxes from the sale of a property can be deferred if a ‘like-kind’ property is identified within 45 days and acquired within 180 days of the sale of the initial property. However, the funds from the sale must be held by a qualified middleman to qualify for the tax deferral.
  3. Not all properties are considered ‘Like-Kind.’ Certain exceptions, including properties held primarily for sale, stocks, bonds, notes, and other securities or evidences of indebtedness, partnership interests, certificates of trusts or beneficial interests, and chosen-in-action, do not qualify under the ‘Like-Kind’ exchange.


The term Like-Kind Property is crucial in the realm of business/finance because it plays a significant role in tax deferment under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, particularly in 1031 exchanges. Like-Kind Property refers to two real estate assets that can be swapped without incurring any immediate tax liabilities, provided they are of similar nature or character, irrespective of their differences in grade or quality. This essentially facilitates the property owners to defer capital gains taxes, allowing them to reinvest the proceeds from the sale into a new property and fuel further growth and investment. This provides a significant advantage to investors by increasing their buying power and the potential for a more profitable investment.


Like-Kind Property is a central element in real estate and taxation strategies, thanks to specific provisions provided under Section 1031 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The primary purpose of Like-Kind Property lies in its ability to enable tax deferral measures, perhaps even complete avoidance. By classifying two properties as like-kind, an investor or property owner can sell one and buy the other without initially incurring any tax liability. This is a powerful tool for those looking to reinvest the returns from property sales directly into new opportunities without an immediate tax hit.In practice, Like-Kind Property is routinely used in exchanges, colloquially known as 1031 exchanges or Starker exchanges, to widen the potential for investment and revitalization across different real estate properties, while still maintaining the deferral of capital gains taxes. Even though the standard for what properties qualify as like-kind is broad, specific criteria must be met. Properly structured, these exchanges can provide an excellent opportunity for investors to diversify their holdings, upgrade their properties, and migrate investments geographically, all while deferring tax.


1. Real Estate Transaction: This is the most common sector where like-kind property exchange occurs. For instance, an investor has a commercial property in New York and he wants to reinvest into a bigger commercial property in Los Angeles. If both properties are used for business or investment purposes, they can be considered like-kind property.2. Artwork Exchange: In the world of high-end artwork, owners may wish to diversify or upgrade their collections. Suppose an art collector trades in several pieces of modern art for a single piece of antique art. Both are personal property used for investment, hence they qualify as like-kind property.3. Equipment or Machinery: A business in the farming industry can trade in used tractors for new ones, and it can be considered a like-kind exchange. Similarly, a taxi company upgrading its fleet by trading in old cars for new ones also qualifies as like-kind property. Both being tangible depreciable assets used in a business or trade.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the meaning of Like-Kind Property?

Like-Kind Property refers to two real estate assets that, if swapped, would neither trigger a capital gains tax nor a loss for the individual or company making the exchange. They have the same general character or nature, even if they differ in grade or quality.

Can any type of property be considered Like-Kind?

No, the term is specifically related to investment or business property. Personal residences or properties held primarily for sale do not fall under this definition.

Is there a limit to the number of Like-Kind exchanges that can be performed in a year?

No, there are no limits to the number of Like-Kind exchanges you can perform within a specific period. However, each exchange must meet certain requirements to qualify for non-recognition of a gain or loss under U.S. tax law.

What is the benefit of Like-Kind Property?

The main benefit of Like-Kind Property is that it provides a method to defer the payment of capital gains tax that would normally be due upon the sale of an asset.

What are the specific rules for defining Like-Kind Properties in taxation?

According to U.S tax laws, both the original and replacement properties must be held for either business or investment purposes. They must be similar in nature or character despite differences in quality or grade.

Is there a specific timeframe to complete a Like-Kind exchange?

Yes, once the original property is sold, the owner has 45 days to identify a potential replacement property and another 135 days to close on the new property for a total of 180 days to complete the exchange.

How is Like-Kind Property treated under tax law?

Like-Kind Property falls under Section 1031 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. According to this section, the exchange of Like-Kind properties does not recognize any gain or loss, essentially allowing investors to defer capital gain taxes.

How is like-kind determined?

The IRS does not give an explicit list of qualifying properties but states the properties must be “similar in nature or character, even if they differ in grade or quality.” The specifics are often determined on a case-by-case basis.

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