The DST can be used as a vehicle that does what a 1031 exchange does, without the problematic timelines and other stringent requirements, but it also can do so much more. In order to understand the pros and cons of a DST and a 1031 exchange and the benefit they give you, you must first understand 1031 exchanges themselves.
When you sell an asset that has appreciated in value since the time you purchased it, you trigger the capital gains tax on the profit you made. If you held the asset for less than one year, it’s called a short-term capital gain. If you held the asset for longer than one year, it’s called a long-term capital gain.
DSTs, or Deferred Sales Trusts, are taking the investment world by storm. This flexible investment opportunity allows you to sell assets and avoid paying taxes on capital gains. This can potentially result in millions of dollars saved, depending on the size of the gains. Even smaller investments can see big returns: capital gains tax can take over 20% of your gains away, depending on the situation.
Although modern trust law traces back to feudal England in the 1100s, citizens of the Roman Republic secretly used an oral agreement called “fideicommissum” (something committed to one’s trust) to work around civil succession laws. This way, they could leave wealth or property to those considered as lower-class, including foreigners, slaves, couples without children or unmarried individuals — an act that was punishable by death.
The Deferred Sales Trust is a tax strategy that uses the proceeds from the sale of virtually any asset to establish a trust held by a certified, third-party Deferred Sales Trustee. Read about two scenarios with varying degrees of post-divorce capital gain realization where the Deferred Sales Trust tax strategy would have been useful.