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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 – with its many changes impacting the 2018 tax year and beyond – brought the Qualified Business Income deduction (sometimes called the QBI deduction or 199A deduction). This new deduction can be up to 20% of the net income of a qualified business, meaning only 80% of your QBI is taxed on the federal level. But, if you are a real estate investor you are probably wondering if this deduction will apply to you. The answer is, of course, not so simple.
Defining a Qualified Trade or Business
The biggest limitation of the QBI deduction is that it only applies to a “qualified trade or business”. There is not a lot of clarity within IRS regulations in determining what exactly is a trade or business in the real estate arena and there are many unique situations concerning real estate.
The IRS cites “key factual elements” that are relevant to whether an activity is a trade or business: (a) the type of property (commercial versus residential versus personal); (b) number of properties rented; (c) day to day involvement of the owner or agent; and (d) type of lease (triple-net versus traditional). Therefore, due to the large number of actual combinations that exist in determining whether a rental activity rises to the level of a trade or business, the IRS says bright-line definitions are impractical.
Below are a few example situations that demonstrate when real estate investments would likely or likely not pass as a qualified trade or business.
We can help you determine if your rental activity facts and circumstances can give rise to a trade or business and thus allow you to be eligible for QBI. If you are not eligible, we can develop some operational strategies which can allow you to qualify for the deduction. Please contact us today at 630-953-4900.