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Certification for Qualified Intermediaries: 1031 Accommodators Hitting the Books

What will it take to be a Qualified Intermediary in 2003 and beyond? The answer is certification. All reputable Qualified Intermediaries will be opening their books and preparing for this year’s new certification exam. The certification program will establish new standards for Qualified Intermediaries’ knowledge of tax deferred 1031 exchanges, their ability to handle complex exchanges and stay current with the continually changing tax code. Attorneys and Exchangors will be able to feel more secure that we are continuing our education and truly are experts in the 1031 exchange field.

The certification program is sponsored by the Federation of Exchange Accommodators, (FEA). The FEA, formed in 1989, is a national trade organization of exchange professionals, intermediaries, attorneys and tax advisors, who are involved in IRC 1031 Exchanges and governmental liaisons. With over 250 companies as members, the FEA promotes new ideas, encourages growth in the industry, establishes a code of ethics and professionalism, educates and keeps members apprised of new developments within the code, procedures, compliance issues, technical issues, court decisions and treasury rulings.

The examination to become a Certified Exchange SpecialistTM, (CES)TM will be a challenging, three -hour test focusing on Qualified Intermediaries’ knowledge of procedures, technical and legal compliance as well as ethical issues. I, for one, will be brushing up on things to prepare for the exam in May.

This comprehensive examination will grow industry standards to a higher level of professionalism and expertise. The CES's designation will allow the taxpayer to confidently choose a knowledgeable intermediary to facilitate their transaction.

Any one who has had at least three years full-time experience with exchanges and a high school diploma may apply for this eligibility. Attorneys, accountants and/or real estate brokers who are interested in the certification must still take the exam in order to achieve Certified Exchange Specialist~ status. It is not required that the candidate be a member of the Federation of Exchange Accommodators, however, it is more beneficial in order to continue CES's education credits. The certification is valid as long as the candidate obtains twenty hours of continuing education credits every two years through CESTM approved courses. There are various courses and seminars offered by the Federation of Exchange Accommodators and its affiliates every year nation-wide.

The CES's designation program will encourage taxpayers and their professional advisors to utilize a Certified Exchange Specialist TM as their Qualified Intermediary. The taxpayer can feel confident that the Qualified Intermediary they choose, with the demonstrated knowledge and experience under the program, will provide superior service and ensure successful completion of their exchange transaction.

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