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Publication 17

Chapter 14
Sale of Property(p102)


Foreign income.(p102)
If you are a U.S. citizen who sells property located outside the United States, you must report all gains and losses from the sale of that property on your tax return unless it is exempt by U.S. law. This is true whether you reside inside or outside the United States and whether or not you receive a Form 1099 from the payer.
This chapter discusses the tax consequences of selling or trading investment property. It explains the following.

Other property transactions.(p103)

Certain transfers of property are not discussed here. They are discussed in other IRS publications. These include the following.
Publication 550, Investment Income and Expenses (Including Capital Gains and Losses), provides a more detailed discussion about sales and trades of investment property. Publication 550 includes information about the rules covering nonbusiness bad debts, straddles, section 1256 contracts, puts and calls, commodity futures, short sales, and wash sales. It also discusses investment-related expenses.


Useful items

You may want to see:

 550  Investment Income and Expenses
Form (and Instructions)
 Schedule D (Form 1040) : Capital Gains and Losses
 8949 : Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets
 8824 : Like-Kind Exchanges

Sales and Trades(p103)

If you sold property such as stocks, bonds, or certain commodities through a broker during the year, you should receive, for each sale, a Form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions, from the broker. You should receive the statement by February 15 of the next year. It will show the gross proceeds from the sale. It may also show your basis. The IRS will also get a copy of Form 1099-B from the broker.
Use Form 1099-B received from your broker to complete Form 8949 and/or Schedule D (Form 1040).

What Is a Sale or Trade?(p103)

This section explains what is a sale or trade. It also explains certain transactions and events that are treated as sales or trades.
A sale is generally a transfer of property for money or a mortgage, note, or other promise to pay money.
A trade is a transfer of property for other property or services and may be taxed in the same way as a sale.

Sale and purchase.(p103)

Ordinarily, a transaction is not a trade when you voluntarily sell property for cash and immediately buy similar property to replace it. The sale and purchase are two separate transactions. But see Like-kind exchanges under Nontaxable Trades, later.

Redemption of stock.(p103)

A redemption of stock is treated as a sale or trade and is subject to the capital gain or loss provisions unless the redemption is a dividend or other distribution on stock.
Dividend versus sale or trade.(p103)
Whether a redemption is treated as a sale, trade, dividend, or other distribution depends on the circumstances in each case. Both direct and indirect ownership of stock will be considered. The redemption is treated as a sale or trade of stock if:

Redemption or retirement of bonds.(p103)

A redemption or retirement of bonds or notes at their maturity is generally treated as a sale or trade.
In addition, a significant modification of a bond is treated as a trade of the original bond for a new bond. For details, see Regulations section 1.1001-3.

Surrender of stock.(p103)

A surrender of stock by a dominant shareholder who retains ownership of more than half of the corporation's voting shares is treated as a contribution to capital rather than as an immediate loss deductible from taxable income. The surrendering shareholder must reallocate his or her basis in the surrendered shares to the shares he or she retains.

Worthless securities.(p103)

Stocks, stock rights, and bonds (other than those held for sale by a securities dealer) that became completely worthless during the tax year are treated as though they were sold on the last day of the tax year. This affects whether your capital loss is long term or short term. See Holding Period, later.
Worthless securities also include securities that you abandon after March 12, 2008. To abandon a security, you must permanently surrender and relinquish all rights in the security and receive no consideration in exchange for it. All the facts and circumstances determine whether the transaction is properly characterized as an abandonment or other type of transaction, such as an actual sale or exchange, contribution to capital, dividend, or gift.
If you are a cash basis taxpayer and make payments on a negotiable promissory note that you issued for stock that became worthless, you can deduct these payments as losses in the years you actually make the payments. Do not deduct them in the year the stock became worthless.
How to report loss.(p103)
Report worthless securities in Form 8949, Part I or Part II, whichever applies.
Report your worthless securities transactions on Form 8949 with the correct box checked for these transactions. See Form 8949 and the Instructions for Form 8949.
For more information on Form 8949 and Schedule D (Form 1040), see Reporting Capital Gains and Losses in chapter 16. See also Schedule D (Form 1040), Form 8949, and their separate instructions.
Filing a claim for refund.(p103)
If you do not claim a loss for a worthless security on your original return for the year it becomes worthless, you can file a claim for a credit or refund due to the loss. You must use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to amend your return for the year the security became worthless. You must file it within 7 years from the date your original return for that year had to be filed, or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. For more information about filing a claim, see Amended Returns and Claims for Refund in chapter 1.

How To Figure
Gain or Loss(p103)

You figure gain or loss on a sale or trade of property by comparing the amount you realize with the adjusted basis of the property.


If the amount you realize from a sale or trade is more than the adjusted basis of the property you transfer, the difference is a gain.


If the adjusted basis of the property you transfer is more than the amount you realize, the difference is a loss.

Adjusted basis.(p103)

The adjusted basis of property is your original cost or other original basis properly adjusted (increased or decreased) for certain items. See chapter 13 for more information about determining the adjusted basis of property.

Amount realized.(p103)

The amount you realize from a sale or trade of property is everything you receive for the property minus your expenses of sale (such as redemption fees, sales commissions, sales charges, or exit fees). Amount realized includes the money you receive plus the fair market value of any property or services you receive. If you received a note or other debt instrument for the property, see How To Figure Gain or Loss in chapter 4 of Publication 550 to figure the amount realized.
If you finance the buyer's purchase of your property and the debt instrument does not provide for adequate stated interest, the unstated interest that you must report as ordinary income will reduce the amount realized from the sale. For more information, see Publication 537.
Fair market value.(p104)
Fair market value is the price at which the property would change hands between a buyer and a seller, neither being forced to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of all the relevant facts.


You trade A Company stock with an adjusted basis of $7,000 for B Company stock with a fair market value of $10,000, which is your amount realized. Your gain is $3,000 ($10,000 − $7,000).
Debt paid off.(p104)
A debt against the property, or against you, that is paid off as a part of the transaction, or that is assumed by the buyer, must be included in the amount realized. This is true even if neither you nor the buyer is personally liable for the debt. For example, if you sell or trade property that is subject to a nonrecourse loan, the amount you realize generally includes the full amount of the note assumed by the buyer even if the amount of the note is more than the fair market value of the property.


You sell stock that you had pledged as security for a bank loan of $8,000. Your basis in the stock is $6,000. The buyer pays off your bank loan and pays you $20,000 in cash. The amount realized is $28,000 ($20,000 + $8,000). Your gain is $22,000 ($28,000 − $6,000).
Payment of cash.(p104)
If you trade property and cash for other property, the amount you realize is the fair market value of the property you receive. Determine your gain or loss by subtracting the cash you pay plus the adjusted basis of the property you trade in from the amount you realize. If the result is a positive number, it is a gain. If the result is a negative number, it is a loss.

No gain or loss.(p104)

You may have to use a basis for figuring gain that is different from the basis used for figuring loss. In this case, you may have neither a gain nor a loss. See Basis Other Than Cost in chapter 13.

Nontaxable Trades(p104)

This section discusses trades that generally do not result in a taxable gain or deductible loss. For more information on nontaxable trades, see chapter 1 of Publication 544.

Like-kind exchanges.(p104)

If you trade business or investment property for other business or investment property of a like kind, you do not pay tax on any gain or deduct any loss until you sell or dispose of the property you receive. To be nontaxable, a trade must meet all six of the following conditions.
  1. The property must be business or investment property. You must hold both the property you trade and the property you receive for productive use in your trade or business or for investment. Neither property may be property used for personal purposes, such as your home or family car.
  2. The property must not be held primarily for sale. The property you trade and the property you receive must not be property you sell to customers, such as merchandise.
  3. The property must not be stocks, bonds, notes, choses in action, certificates of trust or beneficial interest, or other securities or evidences of indebtedness or interest, including partnership interests. However, see Special rules for mutual ditch, reservoir, or irrigation company stock, in chapter 4 of Publication 550 for an exception. Also, you can have a nontaxable trade of corporate stocks under a different rule, as discussed later.
  4. There must be a trade of like property. The trade of real estate for real estate, or personal property for similar personal property, is a trade of like property. The trade of an apartment house for a store building, or a panel truck for a pickup truck, is a trade of like property. The trade of a piece of machinery for a store building is not a trade of like property. Real property located in the United States and real property located outside the United States are not like property. Also, personal property used predominantly within the United States and personal property used predominantly outside the United States are not like property.
  5. The property to be received must be identified in writing within 45 days after the date you transfer the property given up in the trade.
  6. The property to be received must be received by the earlier of:
    1. The 180th day after the date on which you transfer the property given up in the trade, or
    2. The due date, including extensions, for your tax return for the year in which the transfer of the property given up occurs.
If you trade property with a related party in a like-kind exchange, a special rule may apply. See Related Party Transactions, later in this chapter. Also, see chapter 1 of Publication 544 for more information on exchanges of business property and special rules for exchanges using qualified intermediaries or involving multiple properties.

Partly nontaxable exchange.(p104)

If you receive money or unlike property in addition to like property, and the above six conditions are met, you have a partly nontaxable trade. You are taxed on any gain you realize, but only up to the amount of the money and the fair market value of the unlike property you receive. You cannot deduct a loss.
Like property and unlike property transferred.(p104)
If you give up unlike property in addition to the like property, you must recognize gain or loss on the unlike property you give up. The gain or loss is the difference between the adjusted basis of the unlike property and its fair market value.

Like property and money transferred.(p104)

If all of the above conditions (1) – (6) are met, you have a nontaxable trade even if you pay money in addition to the like property.

Basis of property received.(p104)

To figure the basis of the property received, see Nontaxable Exchanges in chapter 13.

How to report.(p104)

You must report the trade of like property on Form 8824. If you figure a recognized gain or loss on Form 8824, report it on Schedule D (Form 1040), or on Form 4797, Sales of Business Property, whichever applies. See the instructions for Line 22 in the Instructions for Form 8824.
For information on using Form 4797, see chapter 4 of Publication 544.

Corporate stocks.(p104)

The following trades of corporate stocks generally do not result in a taxable gain or a deductible loss.
Corporate reorganizations.(p104)
In some instances, a company will give you common stock for preferred stock, preferred stock for common stock, or stock in one corporation for stock in another corporation. If this is a result of a merger, recapitalization, transfer to a controlled corporation, bankruptcy, corporate division, corporate acquisition, or other corporate reorganization, you do not recognize gain or loss.
Stock for stock of the same corporation.(p104)
You can exchange common stock for common stock or preferred stock for preferred stock in the same corporation without having a recognized gain or loss. This is true for a trade between two stockholders as well as a trade between a stockholder and the corporation.
Convertible stocks and bonds.(p104)
You generally will not have a recognized gain or loss if you convert bonds into stock or preferred stock into common stock of the same corporation according to a conversion privilege in the terms of the bond or the preferred stock certificate.
Property for stock of a controlled corporation.(p104)
If you transfer property to a corporation solely in exchange for stock in that corporation, and immediately after the trade you are in control of the corporation, you ordinarily will not recognize a gain or loss. This rule applies both to individuals and to groups who transfer property to a corporation. It does not apply if the corporation is an investment company.
For this purpose, to be in control of a corporation, you or your group of transferors must own, immediately after the exchange, at least 80% of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock entitled to vote and at least 80% of the outstanding shares of each class of nonvoting stock of the corporation.
If this provision applies to you, you may have to attach to your return a complete statement of all facts pertinent to the exchange. For details, see Regulations section 1.351-3.
Additional information.(p104)
For more information on trades of stock, see Nontaxable Trades in chapter 4 of Publication 550.

Insurance policies and annuities.(p104)

You will not have a recognized gain or loss if the insured or annuitant is the same under both contracts and you trade:
You also may not have to recognize gain or loss on an exchange of a portion of an annuity contract for another annuity contract. See Revenue Ruling 2003-76 and Revenue Procedure 2011-38.
For tax years beginning after 2010, amounts received as an annuity for a period of 10 years or more, or for the lives of one or more individuals, under any portion of an annuity, endowment, or life insurance contract, are treated as a separate contract and are considered partial annuities. A portion of an annuity, endowment, or life insurance contract may be annuitized, provided that the annuitization period is for 10 years or more or for the lives of one or more individuals. The investment in the contract is allocated between the part of the contract from which amounts are received as an annuity and the part of the contract from which amounts are not received as an annuity.
Exchanges of contracts not included in this list, such as an annuity contract for an endowment contract, or an annuity or endowment contract for a life insurance contract, are taxable.
Demutualization of life insurance companies. (p105)
If you received stock in exchange for your equity interest as a policyholder or an annuitant, you generally will not have a recognized gain or loss. See Demutualization of Life Insurance Companies in Publication 550.

U.S. Treasury notes or bonds.(p105)

You can trade certain issues of U.S. Treasury obligations for other issues designated by the Secretary of the Treasury, with no gain or loss recognized on the trade. See Savings bonds traded in chapter 1 of Publication 550 for more information.

Transfers Between Spouses(p105)

Generally, no gain or loss is recognized on a transfer of property from an individual to (or in trust for the benefit of) a spouse, or if incident to a divorce, a former spouse. This nonrecognition rule does not apply in the following situations. For other situations, see Transfers Between Spouses in chapter 4 of Publication 550.
Any transfer of property to a spouse or former spouse on which gain or loss is not recognized is treated by the recipient as a gift and is not considered a sale or exchange. The recipient's basis in the property will be the same as the adjusted basis of the giver immediately before the transfer. This carryover basis rule applies whether the adjusted basis of the transferred property is less than, equal to, or greater than either its fair market value at the time of transfer or any consideration paid by the recipient. This rule applies for purposes of determining loss as well as gain. Any gain recognized on a transfer in trust increases the basis.
A transfer of property is incident to a divorce if the transfer occurs within 1 year after the date on which the marriage ends, or if the transfer is related to the ending of the marriage.

Related Party Transactions(p105)

Special rules apply to the sale or trade of property between related parties.

Gain on sale or trade of depreciable property.(p105)

Your gain from the sale or trade of property to a related party may be ordinary income, rather than capital gain, if the property can be depreciated by the party receiving it. See chapter 3 of Publication 544 for more information.

Like-kind exchanges.(p105)

Generally, if you trade business or investment property for other business or investment property of a like kind, no gain or loss is recognized. See Like-kind exchanges, earlier, under Nontaxable Trades.
This rule also applies to trades of property between related parties, defined next under Losses on sales or trades of property. However, if either you or the related party disposes of the like property within 2 years after the trade, you both must report any gain or loss not recognized on the original trade on your return filed for the year in which the later disposition occurs. See Related Party Transactions in chapter 4 of Publication 550 for exceptions.

Losses on sales or trades of property.(p105)

You cannot deduct a loss on the sale or trade of property, other than a distribution in complete liquidation of a corporation, if the transaction is directly or indirectly between you and the following related parties.
In addition, a loss on the sale or trade of property is not deductible if the transaction is directly or indirectly between the following related parties.
Multiple property sales or trades.(p105)
If you sell or trade to a related party a number of blocks of stock or pieces of property in a lump sum, you must figure the gain or loss separately for each block of stock or piece of property. The gain on each item may be taxable. However, you cannot deduct the loss on any item. Also, you cannot reduce gains from the sales of any of these items by losses on the sales of any of the other items.
Indirect transactions.(p105)
You cannot deduct your loss on the sale of stock through your broker if, under a prearranged plan, a related party buys the same stock you had owned. This does not apply to a trade between related parties through an exchange that is purely coincidental and is not prearranged.
Constructive ownership of stock.(p105)
In determining whether a person directly or indirectly owns any of the outstanding stock of a corporation, the following rules apply.
Rule 1.(p105)
Stock directly or indirectly owned by or for a corporation, partnership, estate, or trust is considered owned proportionately by or for its shareholders, partners, or beneficiaries.
Rule 2.(p106)
An individual is considered to own the stock directly or indirectly owned by or for his or her family. Family includes only brothers and sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters, spouse, ancestors, and lineal descendants.
Rule 3.(p106)
An individual owning, other than by applying rule 2, any stock in a corporation is considered to own the stock directly or indirectly owned by or for his or her partner.
Rule 4.(p106)
When applying rule 1, 2, or 3, stock constructively owned by a person under rule 1 is treated as actually owned by that person. But stock constructively owned by an individual under rule 2 or rule 3 is not treated as owned by that individual for again applying either rule 2 or rule 3 to make another person the constructive owner of the stock.

Property received from a related party.(p106)

If you sell or trade at a gain property you acquired from a related party, you recognize the gain only to the extent it is more than the loss previously disallowed to the related party. This rule applies only if you are the original transferee and you acquired the property by purchase or exchange. This rule does not apply if the related party's loss was disallowed because of the wash sale rules described in chapter 4 of Publication 550 under Wash Sales.
If you sell or trade at a loss property you acquired from a related party, you cannot recognize the loss that was not allowed to the related party.

Example 1.(p106)

Your brother sells you stock for $7,600. His cost basis is $10,000. Your brother cannot deduct the loss of $2,400. Later, you sell the same stock to an unrelated party for $10,500, realizing a gain of $2,900. Your reportable gain is $500 (the $2,900 gain minus the $2,400 loss not allowed to your brother).

Example 2.(p106)

If, in Example 1, you sold the stock for $6,900 instead of $10,500, your recognized loss is only $700 (your $7,600 basis minus $6,900). You cannot deduct the loss that was not allowed to your brother.