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.
- The corporation is an investment company.
- You transfer the property in a bankruptcy or similar proceeding in exchange for stock used to pay creditors.
- The stock is received in exchange for the corporation's debt (other than a security) or for interest on the corporation's debt (including a security) that accrued while you held the debt.
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 section 1.351-3 of the Regulations.
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.taxmap/pubs/p542-001.htm#TXMP2820a444
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.taxmap/pubs/p542-001.htm#TXMP3bfba1ba
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.taxmap/pubs/p542-001.htm#TXMP66941f88
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.taxmap/pubs/p542-001.htm#TXMP3c8b7c75
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.taxmap/pubs/p542-001.htm#TXMP08dd06ef
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.taxmap/pubs/p542-001.htm#TXMP06c2f611
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.taxmap/pubs/p542-001.htm#TXMP3d80be8c
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 Publication 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 Publication 544. No loss is recognized.taxmap/pubs/p542-001.htm#TXMP3b5cabc6
Nonqualified preferred stock is treated as property other than stock. Generally, it is preferred stock with any of the following features.
- The holder has the right to require the issuer or a related person to redeem or buy the stock.
- The issuer or a related person is required to redeem or buy the stock.
- The issuer or a related person has the right to redeem or buy the stock and, on the issue date, it is more likely than not that the right will be exercised.
- The dividend rate on the stock varies with reference to interest rates, commodity prices, or similar indices.
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.
- If the liabilities the corporation assumes are more than your adjusted basis in the property you transfer, gain is recognized up to the difference. However, if the liabilities assumed give rise to a deduction when paid, such as a trade account payable or interest, no gain is recognized.
- If there is no good business reason for the corporation to assume your liabilities, or if your main purpose in the exchange is to avoid federal income tax, the assumption is treated as if you received money in the amount of the liabilities.
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|
|Liability assumed by corporation|| 5,000 |
|Minus: Adjusted basis of property transferred|| 20,000 |
|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.taxmap/pubs/p542-001.htm#TXMP4ecf84cb
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 Publication 544.taxmap/pubs/p542-001.htm#TXMP3f1540b6
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 after October 18, 1999, 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.taxmap/pubs/p542-001.htm#TXMP46309dcb
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.taxmap/pubs/p542-001.htm#TXMP2d1bfd1c
In a section 351 transaction, if the adjusted basis of the property transferred exceeds the property's fair market value, the transferor and transferee may make an irrevocable election to treat the basis of the stock received by the transferor as having a basis equal to the fair market value of the property transferred. The transferor and transferee must make this election by attaching a statement to their tax returns filed by the due date (including extensions) for the tax year in which the transaction occurred. For more information on making this election see section 362(e)(2)(C) of the Internal Revenue Code, and Notice 2005-70, 2005-41 I.R.B. 694.