The Internal Revenue Service has issued a revenue ruling clarifying when a real estate developer can exclude cancellation of debt income under the qualified real property business indebtedness exclusion in Section 108(a)(1)(D) of the Tax Code.

Revenue Ruling 2016-15 provides examples to clarify that qualified real property business indebtedness, or QRPBI, includes indebtedness relating only to depreciable property used in a taxpayer’s trade or business, and not property held for sale to customers. 

The examples provide that indebtedness incurred or assumed in connection with property held by a real estate developer as rental property will qualify as QRPBI because the property is depreciable. 

On the other hand, according to the revenue ruling, because property held for sale to customers is not depreciable, indebtedness incurred or assumed in connection with this type of property is not QRPBI, and thus is not excludable under Section 108.

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