Safe vs. Non Safe Harbor Exchanges

safe vs. non-safe harbor exchange

When the regulations came out for 1031 exchanges, just about everybody gravitated towards the safe harbor exchanges, which allow for a sale to occur to a third party and a purchase to occur within 180 days. The only real curve ball is that under the safe harbor you have to identify in writing your replacement property within 45 days.

Safe Harbor Exchanges

The regulations do not prohibit you from doing a non-safe harbor straight exchange. But in a non-safe harbor exchange it's much more difficult to get the stars into alignment because you don't have the benefit of the deferred exchange timeline. Typically, in a non-safe harbor exchange would have to be a direct swap where you sell your relinquished property to party A and you simultaneously receive your new replacement property from party A (the same party). It’s like the old fashioned horse swap, I'll give you my horse in exchange for you giving me your horse.

Non-Safe Harbor Exchanges

A non-safe harbor exchange does not require you to hire a qualified intermediary but does require that you do a simultaneous swap with the party that you are giving your relinquished property to. For that reason it’s much more difficult to do a non-safe harbor straight exchange and given that the fees and expenses for doing a deferred safe harbor exchange are so minimal most people avail themselves with the protections of the safe harbor even when they are doing a quick or simultaneous exchange because they want the certainty that the safe harbor protections provide.

  • 1031 Hotline: If you have questions about safe vs. non safe harbor exchanges, feel free to call me at 612-643-1031.

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