Fair Market Value and Fair Value in Business Valuations

In this first audio blog in a series about business valuations, Micah Vant Hoff will delve into the critical distinction between fair market value and fair value in business appraisal. Understanding the nuances between these two standards of value is crucial as they can impact assessments due to their differing definitions.


Fair market value versus fair value. We need to be able to determine whether it’s going to be under one or the other because fair value will generally not include discounting, where it’ll just be the business value, absent any form of discounting, generally speaking. And fair value is defined differently depending on what jurisdiction you’re in. Whereas fair market value will generally be using the IRS’s definition of fair market value, and will incorporate potentially discounting or premiums for lack of marketability and lack of control, or conversely premiums for control, potentially even marketability.

So that’s going to be the big difference there where we’re looking at what standard of value. Determining the standard of value is important. It’s an important first step in defining the engagement and whether you’re going to be operating under fair market value or fair value or even something else is going to drive the consideration of discounts or even premiums inherent in the business value and whether you’re considering those things or not. And even within a term like fair value, that can be differently defined based on what jurisdiction you’re operating in. So for example, fair value in Illinois is defined in the Illinois Business Corporation Act. Fair value in Indiana may be defined slightly differently. That’s going to be more jurisdictional as opposed to fair market value which is going to be more universal.

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