Using cash in a like-kind exchange is similar to passing around the proverbial "hot potato" - you don't want to be the one holding the potato, i.e., the cash, at the end of the transaction. If you do so in a like-kind exchange, you are probably holding "boot" (non-qualifying property), which is taxable to the extent of any gain otherwise locked up in the relinquished property (i.e., the difference between its fair market value and basis).Sometimes, strategies that involve the use of cash to facilitate like-kind exchanges under Code Section 1031 begin to seem like shell games, in which labels matter a great deal. In the end, however, the only labels that have been successfully applied are those that have made sense within the basic framework of Section 1031.

This article reviews a variety of tax results when cash is used within the structure of a like-kind transaction. To hold these divergent uses of cash together, we have recommended 10 rules to keep in mind whenever cash is proposed as part of a like-kind exchange.

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