Generally, when one discusses exchanges, the type of exchange referred to is the delayed or Starker exchange. This term comes from the name of the Exchanger who was first challenged for a delayed exchange by the IRS. From this tax court conflict came the code change in 1984 that formally recognized the delayed exchange for the first time. As mentioned earlier, this is now the most common type of exchange.
In a delayed exchange, the Relinquished Property is sold at Time 1, and after a delay of up to 180 days, the Replacement Property is acquired at Time 2.
The Exchanger has a maximum of 180 days from the closing of the Relinquished Property or the due date of that year's tax return, whichever occurs first, to acquire the Replacement Property. This is called the Exchange Period. The first 45 days of that period is called the Identification Period. During these 45 days, the Exchanger must identify the candidate or target property which will be used for the Replacement Property. The identification must:
Be in writing,
Signed by the Exchanger, and,
Received by the facilitator or other qualified party (faxed, postmarked or otherwise identifiably transmitted through Federal Express or other dated courier service, or digital signature).
This must all occur within the 45 day period. Failure to accomplish this identification will cause the exchange to fail.