Foreign National Seller of Florida Real Property- FIRPTA Withholding FAQ’s!

If you are a foreign national or you are assisting a foreign national client in selling real estate, you are most likely familiar with Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (“FIRPTA”).  When you are handling a real estate transaction involving a foreign seller, depending on the value of the property and how it will be used, the transaction is generally subject to a 15% withholding on the purchase price due to FIRPTA.   The Act places the responsibility of the Buyer for this withholding.

For the purposes of FIRPTA, a foreign seller is defined as either a non-resident alien individual, a foreign corporation not treated as a domestic corporation, or a foreign partnership, trust or estate.  A person is considered to be a resident alien under FIRPTA if they have legal permanent resident status in the U.S. (they have a Green Card), and they meet the substantial presence test which sets a minimum number of days they must be physically present in the United States.  

The formula for the substantial presence test is as follows:

  • 31 days during the current year;
    PLUS
  • 183 days during 3-year period
    • All the days present in the current year, &
    • 1/3 of the days present in the first year prior, &
    • 1/6 days present in the second year prior.

If you are buying or selling a property, and the Seller is a foreign national, it is highly recommended that you obtain legal counsel to guide you through the complex particulars and ensure that the financial obligation you are about to embark on is drafted specific to your needs and in your interest. For any questions or assistance, please contact us as we would be happy to guide you.

1031 Like Kind Exchange Tips

1031 Like Kind Exchange Tips -Identifiying Properties 

With Real Estate being so hot, we have seen such an increase in 1031 Like Kind Exchange’s in the past few years.

Here are a few tips to consider when thinking about doing the exchange:

The Basic 1031 Identification Rule Is:

The Exchanger has only 45 days from the day of closing on its relinquished property to identify possible replacement property.

WARNING: Section 1031 and the IRS regulations thereunder have strict requirements for the identification of replacement property.

Identification of all replacement property must be made in writing, must be signed by the Exchanger, and must be delivered to the Qualified Intermediary on or before midnight of the 45th day.

The Exchanger may identify any type of investment or business real property in the USA, including a single-family rental, apartment building, hotel, office building, warehouse, vacant land, shopping center, etc.

The Exchanger/Taxpayer may not identify replacement property or amend its identification after the 45th day has expired.

Identifying Multiple Properties:

The Exchanger may identify more than one property, as follows:

(1) The Exchanger may identify as many as three (3) properties, regardless of their total value (known as the “3-Property Rule”) See Example # 1 below; OR

(2) The Exchanger may identify any number of properties provided their aggregate fair market value on the 45th day does not exceed 200% of the aggregate fair market value of all of the Exchanger’s relinquished property on the date of its transfer (known as the “200% Rule”) See Example #2 below; OR

(3) The Exchanger may receive, by the end of the Exchange Period, Replacement Property which the Fair Market Value of, is at least 95% of the aggregate Fair Market Value of all of the Replacement properties identified (known as the” 95% Rule”) See Example #3 below.

“The Exchanger is not required to acquire all the property it has have identified. Therefore, many gurus in our industry recommend that the Exchanger identify alternative properties should the closing on the Exchanger’s preferred property fail for any reason. Any property acquired prior to the 45-day Exchanger’s identification expiring, counts as an identified property.”

EXAMPLE #1 – 1—3 PROPERTY RULE:
Mr. and Mrs. Trembling (Exchangers) sell their investment property that they have owned for 17 years for the sum of $695,000.00. They, within 45 days of the relinquished transaction, e-mail to their Qualified Intermediary a list of three (3) properties for the following amounts: Property # 1: $1,200,000.00; Property #2: $500,000.00; Property # 3; $400,000.00.

As long as the Exchangers purchase property of equal or more value than their relinquished property ($695,000.00) any tax they may have owed will be deferred. There is NO dollar amount limitation on the properties they have identified. The only limitation they have using this rule is that they can only identify 3 properties.

EXAMPLE #2 – 200% RULE:
Mr. and Mrs. Anderson (Exchangers) sell their investment property that they have owned for 3.5 years for the sum of $500,000.00. Within the 45-day time limit, they e-mail to their Qualified Intermediary, the following list of possible Replacement Properties: #1: $150,000.00; #2: $300,000.00; #3: $250,000.00; #4: $100,000.00; and #5: $199,000.00.

The Exchangers are allowed to identify any number of properties, but they cannot total together more than 200% of what they sold.

The 5 properties they identified combined total: $999,000.00, which is under the $1,000,000.00) they would be allowed to identify and therefore their Identification is valid. They do not have to purchase all of these properties, but if they want to defer all of their gains, they must obtain at least $500,000.00 of replacement property.

EXAMPLE #3 – 95% RULE:
Mr. Thomas Franklin (Exchnager) sells his investment property for the tidy sum of $800,000. He identifies the following properties as possible replacement properties: #1: $600,000; #2:$ 300,000; #3: 900,000; #4: 700,000 and #5: $200,000.

The total valuation of all the properties together is: $2,700,000.

He cannot use the 200% rule because he has identified more than 200% of his relinquished property’s selling price ($800,000 x 200% = $1,600,000). But he can still use the 95% rule. He must purchase 95% of the valuation price of the properties he identified. That would be: $2,565,000 ($2,700,000 x 95% = $2,565,000). If he purchases less than the 95%, his 1031 exchange will be disqualified.

After reviewing the above 3 Rules for Identification, most Exchangers select the 3 Property rule, because it is a lot easier. It has no dollar amount restrictions, but the exchanger is limited to only 3 properties for identification purposes.

Source: Stephen Wayner of Liberty 1031.

DISCLAIMER: We always recommend that the taxpayer consults with their tax and/or legal counsel on all matters dealing with the Internal Revenue Serice.

Interested in Florida Real Estate Investment? Here are Some Tips!

Real estate investing can be an extremely rewarding process, but it can also carry some worth-noting risks.  Troubleshooting for these issues begins before the purchase takes place and continues throughout ownership.  Here are some tips to help get you started.

The thing to address first and foremost is the financial aspect.  Buying profitable real estate means investing in properties that are cash flow positive. Rentals should provide a fair rate of return on the invested equity.  Also make sure to secure long-term fixed rate financing. Financing or refinancing a property can end up costing you more in the long run or effect transfer issues.

real estate

When it comes to “fixer-uppers,” you may want to look elsewhere.  Projects that involve extra remodeling or renovations are very much likely to loose money in the end.  Estimating the cost of repairs can be difficult to the average buyer, except for construction contractors that have experience in such. Obtain experienced contractor opinions before you consider a “fixer-upper”.

Take an in-depth look through all title documents.  This includes the title insurance policy, title abstract, schedule of exclusions, and a survey of the property.  Schedule some time with an Florida Real Estate Attorney to assist you in going through all items in detail and addressing any issues before you go forward with the purchase.

Proper insurance should always be put into place for each specific property and circumstance.  Speaking with an experienced Title Insurance Agent will make it easier to cover all liabilities and reduce the chances of anything severely impacting your finances.

All areas touched on above are great places to start when considering a new real estate investment.  If you are relatively new to property investment, speaking with seasoned long-term investors and Florida Real Estate Attorneys may offer some insight into how to go about taking on a new project. At Gulati Law, we are able to work with you in all these areas. Contact us for more information today!

Source: Zillow Blog

Is Commercial Real Estate a Worthwhile Investment?

If you have been investing in residential real estate for some time now, you might have been considering commercial investments.  The absolute best way to get involved with investments is by doing research, getting advice, and contrasting the familiarity’s with some of the differences.  Knowing the pros and cons before getting involved in a big purchase can help you weigh your options and find out what is best for you.

One major difference between commercial and residential real estate is how the bank values them.  Commercial bank loans tend to require a higher down payment that can easily be more than 30 percent.  Check with your lending institution to find out if they deal with commercial real estate. We have a list of commercial lenders we have worked with in the past, just contact us today and we will be happy to provide them to you!

downtown-building-1285339-m

Commercial real estate offers the potential for increased cash flow and higher stability.  Renting out several spaces in a multi-unit property means more income, and the return is usually higher per square foot if you’re getting the full potential out of the property.  This can also mean less risk. If one of several tenants leaves, you will only lose a portion of the return.  Commercial leases offer steady income because they are also usually much longer in duration.

As with both residential and commercial investments, it is always important to ask questions and do your research.  There are many parts to look into when purchasing commercial real estate specifically.  Some of these include questions about former management, lease renewals, population income, and the seller’s cash flow statements, among others.  See our Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Purchasing Commercial Real Estate- click here.

Source: Entrepreneur Article 

 

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