Form 8949: Report Realized Gains from an Exchange

Learn how to use Form 8949 to report direct profit from a sale in which a 1031 Exchange was used.

The IRS explains: “If you have any recognized gain because you received money or unlike property, report it on Form 8949, Schedule D (Form 1040), or Form 4797, as applicable.”

What Should I Report in Form 8949?

Form 8949 has a very specific purpose: to report any gains realized from an exchange. If you filed a 1031 Exchange for a relinquished/acquired set of properties, and you personally realize any profit from this exchange, then you must file Form 8949 to register this recaptured profit with the IRS. 

Items that should be listed on Form 8949 include:

  • Sales or exchanges of capital assets, including stocks, bonds, etc., and real estate (if not reported on another form or schedule such as Form 4684, 4797, 6252, 6781, or 8824). Include these transactions even if you did not receive a Form 1099-B or 1099-S.
  • Gains from involuntary conversions (other than from casualty or theft) of capital assets not used in your trade or business.
  • Nonbusiness bad debts.
  • Worthlessness of a security.
  • The election to defer capital gain invested in a qualified opportunity fund (QOF).
  • The disposition of interests in QOFs.

What if I File Taxes Jointly with My Spouse?

It is possible to file multiple Form 8949 documents in your tax filings, even if you are filing jointly with your spouse.

The IRS explains: “Individuals, if you are filing a joint return, complete as many copies of Form 8949 as you need to report all of your and your spouse’s transactions. You and your spouse may list your transactions on separate forms or you may combine them. However, you must include on your Schedule D the totals from all Forms 8949 for both you and your spouse.”

However, you and your spouse may need to utilize Form 8949 for purposes other than filing gains realized from an exchange. The IRS further explains

“On a joint return, the capital gains and losses of spouses are figured as the gains and losses of an individual. If you are married and filing a separate return, your yearly capital loss deduction is limited to $1,500. 

Neither you nor your spouse can deduct any part of the other’s loss. If you and your spouse once filed separate returns and are now filing a joint return, combine your separate capital loss carryovers. However, if you and your spouse once filed jointly and are now filing separately, any capital loss carryover from the joint return can be deducted only on the return of the spouse who actually had the loss.”


For more information, read the IRS document Publication 554: Sales and Dispositions of Assets.

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