May 17, 2021
President Joe Biden is seeking higher taxes on real estate transactions with gains of more than $500,000, a target aimed directly at the heart of small real estate investors, family farmers and owner-occupied businesses. In combination with his plans to eliminate step-up basis on the resolution of estates, the Biden tax proposal will greatly increase the cost of farmland and thus food prices, property prices and rental costs in some markets.
The strategy on the political chopping block is the so-called like-kind or 1031 exchanges, which allow investors to defer paying taxes on real estate by rolling profits into their next property. Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code was put in place by Congress a century ago. The amount of money available for the Treasury is modest in the Biden tax proposal, but the economic damage will be vast.
The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that 1031 exchanges may save investors only $41.4 billion in taxes from 2020 to 2024, CNBC reports, but the economic benefit of 1031 exchanges to small investors and rural communities is far greater. Roughly a third of all commercial real estate transactions involved 1031 exchanges and thereby preserve important wealth that supports communities.
Why is Joe Biden declaring war on American family farmers, investors in multifamily real estate and Main Street USA? He’s not. This ill-considered proposal is the leftover agenda of former President Barack Obama, the result of a radical socialist program that stretches back nearly a century to America of the 1920s.