What is a TIC?
(Tenancy In Common Investments)

Tenancy in common investments (“TIC” or “TIC Investments”) have become a booming industry in the United States in recent years. A tenancy in common investment (better known as a TIC) is an investment by the taxpayer in real estate which is co-owned with other investors. Since the taxpayer holds a deed to real estate as a tenant in common, the investment qualifies under the like-kind rules of IRC §1031. TIC investments are typically made in projects such as apartment houses, shopping centers, office buildings, etc. TIC sponsors arrange TIC syndications to comply with the limitations specified by the IRS with Rev Proc 2002-22 which, among other things, limits the number of investors to 35.

This type of an investment can appeal to taxpayers who are tired of managing real estate. TICs can provide a secure investment with a predictable rate of return on their investment. Management responsibilities are provided by management professionals. Cash returns on these types of investments are typically in the 6% to 7% range. Syndicators of TICs are called “sponsors.” Investment offerings can be made directly by the sponsor or by brokers who can assist taxpayers with an assortment of offerings currently on the market.

TIC investments are treated by most sponsors as securities because they meet the definition of securities either in the state where the property resides or in the various states where the sponsor intends to offer the investment for sale. The SEC has not ruled on this issue but most states are quite clear in their statutes that these investments are securities under state law. This means that only licensed security dealers may market these investments. However, even though the investments may be securities under state law, the investment is a real estate investment for purposes of §1031.

Some sponsors of TIC investments structure their TIC so that the investment is a real estate investment not subject to state security laws. Usually this means that the TIC sponsor will not be responsible for management of the investment and independent management will be employed.

TIC investments are commonly structured in one of the following ways:

  • A single-tenant property with an established credit rating,
  • Multiple tenants subject to a single master lease with the TIC sponsor who subleases to the tenants,
  • Multiple tenants each with separate leases managed by professional management.

Taxpayers considering a TIC investment should be prepared for an investment which may last for several years with limited liquidity. As with any other real estate investment, an investment in a TIC can be subject to various business risks. Taxpayers should research track records and management performance of sponsors who are offering TIC investments. They should also carefully review any available proforma operating statements and prospectus. A financial advisor should be consulted when necessary.

Categories: Federal Tax Articles, Like Kind (IRC 1031), Tax Articles, Tax Free Exchanges