Not all property qualifies for tax-deferred exchange

Rental, business uses are vital factors

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DEAR BOB: In 2001, my wife and I moved into our new home. Since then, my previous home, which I still own, has remained vacant and un-rented. I now want to sell it and transfer the sale proceeds into another home and place it on the rental market. Must I rent my former personal residence before I can sell it? Or, can I sell it now and meet the rules for an Internal Revenue Code 1031 tax-deferred exchange? If not, how long must I rent it to qualify for a tax-deferred exchange to avoid capital gain tax? --Robert A. DEAR ROBERT: To qualify for an Internal Revenue Code 1031 tax-deferred exchange, both the old and acquired properties must be held for investment and/or use in a trade or business. A vacant house doesn't fall into either category. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Although IRC 1031 doesn't specify a minimum rental time, most tax advisers suggest renting a property at least six to 12 months before selling it as part of a tax-deferred IRC 1031(a)(3) "Starker exchange." That me...