Real Estate & Construction
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Client Profile – Real Estate & Construction

  • National shopping center developers
  • National multi-family and apartment developers
  • Other commercial real estate developers
  • Land development financing groups
  • Nursing home construction
  • Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
  • Property management
  • Real estate partnerships


   Real Estate

Key Industry Contacts

Michael Bodwell

Toby Cotton

Camron Harris



Whitley Penn offers a powerful breadth and depth of audit, accounting and tax services to real estate developers and investors with properties around the country and in select international markets. Our clients get local pricing and decision-makers who thoroughly know the industry and its time-sensitive deadlines and tax driven markets dynamics.

Given the maxim in this industry that "time is money," clients appreciate that our turnaround on projects is quick, yet we have the focused skills to advise on the most complex tax and accounting issues. Our involvement in leading industry groups like The Real Estate Council (TREC) ensures that we keep current on the latest market developments.

Real Estate & Construction Audit Services

We add value in auditing by making sure the Whitley Penn partner who handles your account is fully engrained in your business activity, so we can advise on financial impacts as they arise throughout the year. Our audit services include partnership audits and employee benefit audits. We audit public and private companies across all segments of the real estate industry. Many of our professionals have also worked in industry so we understand the realities of our client’s side of the desk, which makes us more pragmatic.

Real Estate & Construction Tax Counseling

Whitley Penn offers sophisticated solutions for complex tax challenges in structuring like-kind exchanges, tax-efficient real estate transactions and tax-free reorganizations, giving the most tax-favorable capital gains treatment while maximizing advantages from amortization, depreciation and borrowing costs. Often after our initial review of previous tax returns, we can identify what should have been done in earlier years to maximize tax benefits and ensure that it’s done going forward.

We put special emphasis on preparing Schedule K-1 for reporting partnership income deductions and credits, and know that timely distribution is crucial for real estate interests. One of our clients requires 10,000 K-1s each year and we handle them all – right, and on time.

In broader context we can undertake cost segregation studies and review lease rates to anticipate any possible future problems involving income tax consequences, property tax assessments or financing.

Virtual Back Office Accounting Services

Whitley Penn’s unique Virtual Back Office/Accounting Services group can be an outsourced bookkeeping and financial records resource. Our group can handle accounting system change and implementation, and bridge the gap with accounting services work when there is employee turnover. Our Accounting Services team ensures that there are appropriate controls and accounting systems in-house. For general transaction matters, we will perform the documentation of the consolidation process.

Real Estate Partnerships

We structure partnership arrangements as pass-through tax entities, developing all necessary documentation in accordance with complex and changing tax law. That includes extensive advice to general and limited partnerships, limited liability companies and joint ventures. We advise partnerships in many forms, each with their own tax advantages and special organizational requirements. No partnership is too large or complex, and we also advise on small private partnerships between individuals for real estate investment purposes.

Because many of our partnership clients are flow-through entities where taxation happens at the partner level, we act as an effective line of defense against tax errors that might not otherwise be caught at the corporate level.

Real Estate Tax Planning

Thoroughly understanding the goals and objectives of a real estate deal is fundamental to our transactional tax planning. We advise our clients on structuring the proper entity (limited liability company, limited partnership, or some other form) to make the purchase, a choice often crucial in obtaining favorable tax treatment for the transaction as a capital gain rather than as income, or as a transfer of membership interests in a partnership that helps avoid transfer taxes.

We are adept at saving our clients substantial sums of money through innovative advice on structuring the sale of real property into trusts, partnerships and LLCs to secure the tax advantages. Similarly, for large, multi-investor transactions involving real estate investment trusts, we undertake the tax planning of real estate asset acquisitions and divestitures. That includes structuring partnership units to acquire real estate or other entities, with special emphasis on 1031 like-kind property exchanges involving shopping centers, debt restructuring and other purposes.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

Our professionals advise a number of REIT clients with assets of up to $1 billion on everyday operating issues, from public reporting compliance to tax counsel. Because REITs operate within the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, we help our clients conform to all IRS regulations on qualification and structuring of transactions while ensuring that they remain competitive with other real estate companies.

Next Steps

The tremendous changes reshaping today’s real estate market provide dynamic opportunities for those players nimble enough to take advantage of them. We are unsurpassed at understanding the latest tax and accounting reforms and applying them to our clients’ projects. If you’re looking for a competitive edge from new ideas, Whitley Penn is a great fit for you.