In THE REAL ESTATE CLIENT: VALUATION SERVES IMPORTANT MASTERS IN LITIGATION CASES, forensic accounting expert witness Richard M. Squar, CPA, CVA, ABV, CFF, MBA-Taxation, writes:
The most prevalent standard of value, fair market value, has commanded a great deal of attention in valuation literature and court cases adjudicating valuation issues. In its simplest form, fair market value is defined by numerous court cases and IRS Revenue Ruling 59-60 as “…the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller when the former is not under any compulsion to buy and the latter is not under any compulsion to sell, both parties having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.” Most business valuation opinions are made under the fair market value standard.
Fair value is a legally created standard of value that applies to certain specific transactions. In most states, fair value is the statutory standard of value applicable in cases of dissenting stockholders’ appraisal rights. It is also found in the dissolution statutes of those few states in which minority stockholders can trigger a corporate dissolution under certain circumstances, such as California Corporations Code Section 2000. The concept of fair value also appears in partnership dissolutions under minority oppression statutes in some states. It is critical that legal counsel work with the business valuation expert to determine the interpretation of fair value that is applicable, if at all, and one cannot assume that there is a definition that is clear and concise in all circumstances. In this article, it is assumed that fair market value is the appropriate standard of value with applicable discounts.