From business acquisitions to estate planning to shareholder transactions, executives often run into situations in which performing a business valuation is necessary.
The primary pressure point is when it is necessary to determine the value of an ownership interest in a private company (non publicly-traded) for any number of financial and business reasons. Not anything that is traded on exchanges; we’re talking about closely-held companies and small businesses.
In what scenarios would a business valuation be needed?
You’ll see them in estate and gift tax environments, where the owner is trying to transfer his or her wealth to the next generation. The transfer of that interest carries certain tax consequences with it. For a gift, a business valuation must be performed in order to support the amount of tax owed on the transfer. The same concept applies when filing an estate tax return upon the death of an owner of the business. Without the assistance of a valuation expert, the estate may have a difficult time supporting the value of the ownership interest reported in the estate tax return.
Business valuations are also performed for divorce matters when there is a need to determine the business’s appreciation during the life of the marriage. For shareholder transactions, if there is a buy/sell agreement in place that requires the price of any ownership transactions be determined by a qualified appraiser, a valuation will be necessary there as well.
There are also strategic planning, acquisition-type scenarios. Valuation experts are often brought in during the due diligence process of a potential purchase or sale to assist in determining the reasonableness of the proposed price. Also, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) have certain valuation requirements associated with business combinations (i.e. mergers and acquisitions) in which the values of the intangible assets purchased are determined so that they can be recorded on the purchaser’s balance sheet.
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