Strategies for the use of tax-deferred like-kind exchanges have grown over the years from almost exclusively a real estate concern to one in which billions of dollars of business tangible personal property are traded each year. While the main battle continues to be waged over what dissimilarities in property are allowed and still qualify as "like kind," another fight has developed over how the property received in a like-kind exchange is to be depreciated.After tinkering with the depreciation rules in 2001 and 2004, the Treasury issued final regulations early in 2007. In its preamble to the final regs, the Treasury admitted that confusion and resulting inconsistency among taxpayers had developed. The final regs appear to do little to end those problems.

While deferral of gain is the principal goal of undertaking a Code Sec. 1031-compliant like-kind exchange, maximizing depreciation on the assets received in the exchange should not be ignored as a companion tax goal.

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