When you dispose of business property, your taxable gain or loss is usually a section 1231 gain or loss. Its treatment as ordinary or capital is determined under rules for section 1231 transactions.
When you dispose of depreciable property (section 1245 property or section 1250 property) at a gain, you may have to recognize all or part of the gain as ordinary income under the depreciation recapture rules. Any remaining gain is a section 1231 gain.taxmap/pubs/p544-015.htm#TXMP64b84eae
You may want to see:
Publication 534 Depreciating Property Placed in Service Before 1987 537 Installment Sales 551 Basis of Assets 946 How To Depreciate Property 954 Tax Incentives for Distressed Communities Form (and Instructions) 4797: Sales of Business Property
See chapter 5 for information about getting publications and forms.taxmap/pubs/p544-015.htm#en_us_publink100072547
Section 1231 gains and losses are the taxable gains and losses from section 1231 transactions. Their treatment as ordinary or capital depends on whether you have a net gain or a net loss from all your section 1231 transactions.
If you have a gain from a section 1231 transaction, first determine whether any of the gain is ordinary income under the depreciation recapture rules (explained later). Do not take that gain into account as section 1231 gain.
The following transactions result in gain or loss subject to section 1231 treatment.
- Sales or exchanges of real property or depreciable personal property. This property must be used in a trade or business and held longer than 1 year. Generally, property held for the production of rents or royalties is considered to be used in a trade or business. Depreciable personal property includes amortizable section 197 intangibles (described in chapter 2 under Other Dispositions).
- Sales or exchanges of leaseholds. The leasehold must be used in a trade or business and held longer than 1 year.
- Sales or exchanges of cattle and horses. The cattle and horses must be held for draft, breeding, dairy, or sporting purposes and held for 2 years or longer.
- Sales or exchanges of other livestock. This livestock does not include poultry. It must be held for draft, breeding, dairy, or sporting purposes and held for 1 year or longer.
- Sales or exchanges of unharvested crops. The crop and land must be sold, exchanged, or involuntarily converted at the same time and to the same person and the land must be held longer than 1 year. You cannot keep any right or option to directly or indirectly reacquire the land (other than a right customarily incident to a mortgage or other security transaction). Growing crops sold with a lease on the land, though sold to the same person in the same transaction, are not included.
- Cutting of timber or disposal of timber, coal, or iron ore. The cutting or disposal must be treated as a sale, as described in chapter 2 under Timber and Coal and Iron Ore.
- Condemnations. The condemned property must have been held longer than 1 year. It must be business property or a capital asset held in connection with a trade or business or a transaction entered into for profit, such as investment property. It cannot be property held for personal use.
- Casualties and thefts. The casualty or theft must have affected business property, property held for the production of rents and royalties, or investment property (such as notes and bonds). You must have held the property longer than 1 year. However, if your casualty or theft losses are more than your casualty or theft gains, neither the gains nor the losses are taken into account in the section 1231 computation. For more information on casualties and thefts, see Publication 547.
A sale, exchange, or involuntary conversion of property held mainly for sale to customers is not a section 1231 transaction. If you will get back all, or nearly all, of your investment in the property by selling it rather than by using it up in your business, it is property held mainly for sale to customers. taxmap/pubs/p544-015.htm#en_us_publink100072551
You manufacture and sell steel cable, which you deliver on returnable reels that are depreciable property. Customers make deposits on the reels, which you refund if the reels are returned within a year. If they are not returned, you keep each deposit as the agreed-upon sales price. Most reels are returned within the 1-year period. You keep adequate records showing depreciation and other charges to the capitalized cost of the reels. Under these conditions, the reels are not property held for sale to customers in the ordinary course of your business. Any gain or loss resulting from their not being returned may be capital or ordinary, depending on your section 1231 transactions. taxmap/pubs/p544-015.htm#en_us_publink100072552
The sale of a copyright, a literary, musical, or artistic composition, or similar property is not a section 1231 transaction if your personal efforts created the property, or if you acquired the property in a way that entitled you to the basis of the previous owner whose personal efforts created it (for example, if you receive the property as a gift). The sale of such property results in ordinary income and generally is reported in Part II of Form 4797. taxmap/pubs/p544-015.htm#en_us_publink100072553
To determine the treatment of section 1231 gains and losses, combine all your section 1231 gains and losses for the year.
- If you have a net section 1231 loss, it is ordinary loss.
- If you have a net section 1231 gain, it is ordinary income up to the amount of your nonrecaptured section 1231 losses from previous years. The rest, if any, is long-term capital gain.
Your nonrecaptured section 1231 losses are your net section 1231 losses for the previous 5 years that have not been applied against a net section 1231 gain by treating the gain as ordinary income. These losses are applied against your net section 1231 gain beginning with the earliest loss in the 5-year period. taxmap/pubs/p544-015.htm#en_us_publink100072555
In 2009, Ben has a $2,000 net section 1231 gain. To figure how much he has to report as ordinary income and long-term capital gain, he must first determine his section 1231 gains and losses from the previous 5-year period. From 2004 through 2008 he had the following section 1231 gains and losses.
| Year || Amount |
Ben uses this information to figure how to report his net section 1231 gain for 2009 as shown below.
|1)||Net section 1231 gain (2009)||$2,000|
|2)||Net section 1231 loss (2006)||($2,500)|| |
|3)||Net section 1231 gain (2008)|| 1,800 || |
|4)||Remaining net section|
1231 loss from
prior 5 years
| ($700) || |
|5)||Gain treated as |
| $700 |
| 6) || Gain treated as long-term |
| $1,300 |
His remaining net section 1231 loss from 2006 is completely recaptured in 2009.