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AMT tax planning - sale of a building

Celine is going to be subject to the AMT in 2005. She owns an investment building and is considering disposing of it and investing in other realty. Based on an appraisal of the building's value, the realized gain would be $85,000. Ed has offered to purchase the building from Celine with the closing date being December 29, 2005. Ed wants to close the transaction in 2005 because certain beneficial tax consequences will result only if the transaction is closed prior to the beginning of 2006.

Abby has offered to purchase the building with the closing date being January 2, 2006. The building has a $95,000 greater AMT adjusted basis. For regular income tax purposes, Celine expects to be in the 25% tax bracket in 2005 and the 28% tax bracket in 2006.

What are the relevant tax issues that Celine faces in making her decision?

Solution Preview

The quick answer is that Celine should insist on a closing in 2006 because:
1. Taxes paid later are always better than taxes paid earlier
2. AMT rates are the same for both 2005 and 2006 - 28% for her expected income bracket

A compromise position would be to structure the deal as an installment sale. In that situation, ...

Solution Summary

The solution explains the additional information which would be needed to make a more informed decision about AMT for Celine, but several possible solution scenarios are offered about when to close and how to structure a deal.

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