Section 1231 Property

According to the United States Internal Revenue Code, section 1231 property is a category of depreciable business property or real estate utilized in trade or business that has been owned for more than a year.

These assets include structures, equipment, real estate, raw materials like wood, and other forms of nature. Due primarily to its distinct tax status, section 1231 property is a key component of wealth management techniques.

For business owners and investors looking to minimize their tax bills, it is essential since it has the potential for reduced capital gains tax rates and offsetting ordinary income.

Understanding Section 1231 Property

In general, gains on property meeting the definition of Section 1231 are treated as capital gains and are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income if they exceed the adjusted basis and amount of depreciation.

The loss is 100% deductible against income when it occurs on property covered by Section 1231 and is categorized as an ordinary loss.

Losses, which are only deductible up to $3,000 for the tax year, would often qualify as capital gains if income did. Losses that exceed that amount would be determined in the year after. The best of both worlds are provided by the section 1231 law for both taxpayers and company owners.

The IRS recognizes a section 1231 gain as a "regular" capital gain for tax purposes if there is income but not if there is a loss. You must pay capital gains tax on the profit if you sell an item whose value has increased. What is taxed is the gain you make, not the amount of money you get.

Types of Section 1231 Property

According to IRS rules, the following are classified as 1231 transactions:

  1. **Thefts and casualties - **If you've owned a property for more than a year and it suffers damage or loss as a result of a theft or casualty (loss or damage resulting from an unforeseen or uncommon event).
  2. Condemnations - If a property was held as a capital asset for a trade or business for more than a year.
  3. Sale or exchange of real property or personal property that is depreciable – If the asset was owned for more than a year and was put to use in a trade or business (often earning money through rent or royalties).
  4. Leaseholds either sold or exchanged - If kept and used for a year in a trade or industry.

Benefits of Section 1231 Property

Tax advantages:

Gains from Section 1231 transactions may be taxed at the lower capital gains rate, depending on the net outcome, while losses may be used to reduce ordinary income, offering a flexible tool for tax planning.

Risk management and diversification:

Holding Section 1231 property can also help a portfolio manage risk and diversify its holdings. Investors can reduce risk and possibly increase returns by combining a variety of these assets in various sectors and industries.

Estate planning opportunities:

The stepped-up basis rule permits heirs to inherit property with a basis equal to the fair market value at the time of the decedent's death, possibly reducing the amount of future capital gains tax owed.


Depreciable and real property utilized in trade or business are included in the US tax code's section 1231 property categorization of assets. Property held for sale and property held for productive use are separated by this classification.

Benefits of Section 1231 property's tax status include long-term capital gains rates being applicable to gains on the sale of these assets.

Losses resulting from the sale or exchange of property covered by Section 1231 may also be recognised as ordinary losses, which can be used to offset other ordinary income.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

Recommended Reading

SaaS Bookkeeping: Streamlining Finances in the Digital Age

SaaS bookkeeping transforms bookkeeping into a strategic asset by leveraging cloud technology, automation, integration, and flexible subscriptions. Key features like real-time reporting, customizable dashboards, and mobile access help businesses stay agile and competitive. Choose the right SaaS solution by considering business needs, scalability, user experience, and pricing to ensure long-term success and growth.

Read more

Tax Calendar 2024

The Tax Calendar 2024 provides a roadmap for individuals and businesses, highlighting key dates and actions mandated by federal tax laws, to ensure compliance and financial efficiency.

Read more

How Proper Bookkeeping Streamlines Your Business Tax Filing

Blend bookkeeping & tax services for streamlined business finances: Uncover deductions, simplify tax filing, year-round support. Partner with Fincent for a stress-free financial journey.

Read more