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Publication 542

Property Exchanged for Stock(p3)

If you transfer property (or money and property) to a corporation in exchange for stock in that corporation (other than nonqualified preferred stock, described later), and immediately afterward you are in control of the corporation, the exchange is usually not taxable. This rule applies both to individuals and to groups who transfer property to a corporation. It also applies whether the corporation is being formed or is already operating. It does not apply in the following situations.
Both the corporation and any person involved in a nontaxable exchange of property for stock must attach to their income tax returns a complete statement of all facts pertinent to the exchange. For more information, see Regulations section 1.351-3.

Control of a corporation.(p3)

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.

Example 1.(p3)

You and Bill Jones buy property for $100,000. You both organize a corporation when the property has a fair market value of $300,000. You transfer the property to the corporation for all its authorized capital stock, which has a par value of $300,000. No gain is recognized by you, Bill, or the corporation.

Example 2.(p4)

You and Bill transfer the property with a basis of $100,000 to a corporation in exchange for stock with a fair market value of $300,000. This represents only 75% of each class of stock of the corporation. The other 25% was already issued to someone else. You and Bill recognize a taxable gain of $200,000 on the transaction.

Services rendered.(p4)

The term property does not include services rendered or to be rendered to the issuing corporation. The value of stock received for services is income to the recipient.


You transfer property worth $35,000 and render services valued at $3,000 to a corporation in exchange for stock valued at $38,000. Right after the exchange, you own 85% of the outstanding stock. No gain is recognized on the exchange of property. However, you recognize ordinary income of $3,000 as payment for services you rendered to the corporation.

Property of relatively small value.(p4)

The term property does not include property of a relatively small value when it is compared to the value of stock and securities already owned or to be received for services by the transferor if the main purpose of the transfer is to qualify for the nonrecognition of gain or loss by other transferors.
Property transferred will not be considered to be of relatively small value if its fair market value is at least 10% of the fair market value of the stock and securities already owned or to be received for services by the transferor.

Stock received in disproportion to property transferred.(p4)

If a group of transferors exchange property for corporate stock, each transferor does not have to receive stock in proportion to his or her interest in the property transferred. If a disproportionate transfer takes place, it will be treated for tax purposes in accordance with its true nature. It may be treated as if the stock were first received in proportion and then some of it used to make gifts, pay compensation for services, or satisfy the transferor's obligations.

Money or other property received.(p4)

If, in an otherwise nontaxable exchange of property for corporate stock, you also receive money or property other than stock, you may have to recognize gain. You must recognize gain only up to the amount of money plus the fair market value of the other property you receive. The rules for figuring the recognized gain in this situation generally follow those for a partially nontaxable exchange discussed in Pub. 544 under Like-Kind Exchanges. If the property you give up includes depreciable property, the recognized gain may have to be reported as ordinary income from depreciation. See chapter 3 of Pub. 544. No loss is recognized.
Nonqualified preferred stock.(p4)
Nonqualified preferred stock is treated as property other than stock. Generally, it is preferred stock with any of the following features.For a detailed definition of nonqualified preferred stock, see section 351(g)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code.
If the corporation assumes your liabilities, the exchange generally is not treated as if you received money or other property. There are two exceptions to this treatment. For more information on the assumption of liabilities, see section 357(d) of the Internal Revenue Code.


You transfer property to a corporation for stock. Immediately after the transfer, you control the corporation. You also receive $10,000 in the exchange. Your adjusted basis in the transferred property is $20,000. The stock you receive has a fair market value (FMV) of $16,000. The corporation also assumes a $5,000 mortgage on the property for which you are personally liable. Gain is realized as follows.
FMV of stock received$16,000
Cash received10,000
Liability assumed by corporation5,000
Total received$31,000
Minus: Adjusted basis of property transferred20,000
Realized gain$11,000
The liability assumed is not treated as money or other property. The recognized gain is limited to $10,000, the cash received.

Loss on exchange.(p4)

If you have a loss from an exchange and own, directly or indirectly, more than 50% of the corporation's stock, you cannot deduct the loss. For more information, see Nondeductible Loss under Sales and Exchanges Between Related Persons in chapter 2 of Pub. 544.

Basis of stock or other property received.(p4)

The basis of the stock you receive is generally the adjusted basis of the property you transfer. Increase this amount by any amount treated as a dividend, plus any gain recognized on the exchange. Decrease this amount by any cash you received, the fair market value of any other property you received, and any loss recognized on the exchange. Also decrease this amount by the amount of any liability the corporation or another party to the exchange assumed from you, unless payment of the liability gives rise to a deduction when paid.
Further decreases may be required when the corporation or another party to the exchange assumes from you a liability that gives rise to a deduction when paid, if the basis of the stock would otherwise be higher than its fair market value on the date of the exchange. This rule does not apply if the entity assuming the liability acquired either substantially all of the assets or the trade or business with which the liability is associated.
The basis of any other property you receive is its fair market value on the date of the trade.

Basis of property transferred.(p5)

A corporation that receives property from you in exchange for its stock generally has the same basis you had in the property, increased by any gain you recognized on the exchange. However, the increase for the gain recognized may be limited. For more information, see section 362 of the Internal Revenue Code. Also see section 362(e)(2)(C) and the related regulations for information on elections to reduce basis.