AMERICAN SOCIETY OF APPRAISERS
1997 INTERNATIONAL APPRAISAL CONFERENCE, HOUSTON
VALUING A BUSINESS WITHOUT ACCURATE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
by Richard M. Wise,ASA,
CBA, FCA, CFE
An article in The
New York Times, which speaks of the "forensic accountant [as]
a financial detective who can track down the assets of the most miserly
of husbands, and experts fees, which can be as low as U.S. $300, but
appear to be an excellent value". A recent settlement in
the State of New York of a U.S. $7.6 million marital estate of a Manhattan
businessman involved fees of U.S. $275,000 for the business appraiser/forensic
John Stockdale and
I will share some of our experiences with you in our capacity as business
appraisers who are often commissioned to seek the truth by performing
business valuations when we are "playing with less than a full
In many cases, the business valuation expert retained in divorce litigation
or shareholder and partner disputes, faces an uphill battle ?and so
do the courts ?in trying to determine the facts and arrive at the truth.
A few recent judgments of the family law courts in Canada ?which consider
the same type of financial and valuation evidence as the U.S. courts
?provide a shining example of the frustrations and challenges faced
both by business appraisers and the courts. For example, recently, the
Quebec Court of Appeal unanimously affirmed the findings of the trial
judge in a matrimonial matter which presented a host of impediments
and challenges to any business valuator representing a wife in her claim
for alimentary support.
This divorce case
involved an array of financial, valuation and even forensic accounting
expert evidence. Some of the comments of the trial judge are included
below to show just how difficult and challenging a task the wifes
valuation expert had to confront.
There were 22 days
of trial with 14 persons testifying, including the opposing business
valuators. The husband ("Monsieur") filed 115 exhibits and
his wife ("Madame"), 90.
As the trial judge
noted at the outset of the judgment:
"This is an exceptional
case; exceptional as to the meanness of the dispute, attributable to a
very large extent to the conduct of [Monsieur].
"The Court uses the word mean on purpose; it has a double
significance: nasty and stingy; the Court means
The following additional
observations may help set the "flavor" of the frustrations
of both Madames business valuator and the trial judge.
appraiser, an ASA and Canadian "CPA" (Chartered Accountant),
included the following Scope Limitation in his experts report:
"We have been
certain information and documents with respect to the
various companies in which Monsieur owns shares directly and indirectly,
including (but not limited to) Far East Trading Co. and Mexicana Corp.
Notwithstanding numerous attempts to procure same, and that Undertakings
were given by Monsieur, we have as of the date hereof still not been
provided with such information or documents. These relate to a number
of factors which would assist us in arriving at a more precise conclusion
as to Monsieurs (a) net worth and (b) real income before tax,
in order to help establish his financial ability to pay a lump sum and
alimentary pension to Madame. It may be that such documents will be
provided to us subsequent to the issuance of this report, in which case
we reserve the right to provide additional evidence in respect thereof
during the continuation of the proceedings, with the permission of the
"We should also
note that certain documents and information were requested during the
out-of-court Examinations of Monsieur as well as during the trial [which
had actually commenced one year earlier but had been suspended after
four days of hearing]. In a number of cases, as they were neither available
nor produced during these Examinations, they were to be provided through
Undertakings. As of the date hereof, they have still not been produced
by Monsieur. Those Undertakings relate principally to Monsieurs
offshore assets, including (but not limited to):
in Far East Trading Co.;
- Bank account(s)
of Monsieur and of the said offshore company;
- Accounts in the
Cayman Islands [which were revealed in earlier depositions]; etc.
we reserve the right to revise our conclusions should such additional
documents and/or information be provided to us prior to, or during,
the continuation of the Court proceedings.
"By virtue of
(a) management remuneration and other benefits emanating from Monsieurs
companies being of a non-arms length nature, (b) such amounts
being largely discretionary and (c) there being substantial transactions
in the Far East and Mexico with respect to which neither information
nor documentation has been forthcoming, we arrived at Monsieurs
minimum net worth and minimum real income.
and disclosure by Monsieur of such documents and information would enable
us to revise the conclusions arrived at herein and comment upon his
financial position and earning capacity during the course of the proceedings."
Even the Court made
the following observations after hearing the evidence:
clear that [Monsieur] wanted a divorce on the terms he felt appropriate;
when he realized it was not going to work out his way, he dragged his
feet; he postponed; he was away on business and not available; documents
were not provided; records did not exist; etc."
"What is clear, even striking, is the extent to which personal expenses
were paid by the business, either directly, or indirectly, by cash, i.e.,
undeclared income generated by cash sales and, later, undeclared income
from foreign business activities."
"Also, it is clear, as one goes through the credit card and travel
statements, that [Monsieur] travels so much that most of his day-to-day
expenses are carried by the business. It is true he maintains a home
but he really is not there very much.
"As to the amount or level of cash supported expenses, the Court
does not accept [Monsieurs] testimony that there was never very
much money in the home safe
"[Madames] testimony was that [Monsieur] brought cash home
regularly and that there were thousands and thousands of dollars in the
safe, which were available to her for the familys needs; both the
and the third house
had a built-in safe".
was supported by a witness as well as by numerous exhibits illustrating
the extent of cash payments for living expenses such as clothing,
childrens camps, private schools, a TV set, a refrigerator, furniture,
etc., which all emanated from undeclared cash sales from Monsieurs
business. As to the personal expenses paid through the business, evidence
was provided regarding trips, purchases of furniture, household expenses,
liquor, and company-purchased gift certificates at major department
stores. As the Court stated:
family unit lifestyle was to a large extent made possible by
undeclared income (cash in the safe) and company supported expenses. In
other words, [Monsieur] had the business pay for many personal expenses
either directly, by passing it off as a legitimate business expense, or
indirectly, through the non-declared cash revenues; consequently, he could
afford to have the business pay him a low taxable salary.
"[Monsieur] himself confirmed this indirectly when he stated that
company tax audits usually generated sizeable personal tax reassessments
In addressing the
financial and valuation issues, the Court was skeptical, to say the
least, of the information provided by Monsieur:
[his] testimony is to be examined with a very critical eye. He attempted
to mislead the Court as to his capacity to pay. It took him a long time
to realize that stonewalling, denying and not remembering would not work;
for example, his interest in the [offshore] business; for example, the
[offshore] bank account.
"[He] says what he thinks he can get away with. For example, concerning
his bank account [offshore], he gave three successive versions
Evidence was filed
with the Court, including faxes between Monsieur and his offshore company
in the Far East (in which he had denied having an interest), referring
to "my bank account and the bank book you are holding for me."
The judge then concluded:
"[Monsieur] lied to the Court concerning his involvement in [the
While Monsieur denied
that he owned an entity in the Far East, it was not until only a few
weeks before the trial was scheduled to begin (which was three and one-half
years after the launching of the divorce litigation), that he admitted
that he "owned a few shares" and had been a shareholder for
about five years.
Responding to Monsieurs
claim that he was unable to obtain financial statements of his offshore
company from his co-shareholder, the Court stated:
"This is a very
handy excuse: the refusal of the foreign partner
in a jurisdiction sufficiently far away to make it improbable that any
serious attempt would be made to verify [Monsieurs] representations.
the Court does not accept this explanation."
[Monsieur] is hard to pin down, even taking into consideration
the fact questions related to events years past.
"[He] appears to be incapable of answering a question clearly the
first time it is asked; his answers are always hedged; they are couched
in terms that prevent us from getting a clear and unequivocal answer:
To the best of my recollection, I believe, I
assume, I think, It was a long time ago;
he does not remember, he would have to verify, he would have to check,
he cant recall, it is either one or the other, etc.
"Moreover, in the vast majority of cases, a thorough and complete
answer to a question only comes after three or four sub-questions are
asked. In other words, a first question is asked and it is answered in
a general, vague and hedged manner; this answer has then to be further
refined by a series a sub-questions. But only when he is confronted with
a document, something tangible, something he cannot refute, does [Monsieur]
become forthright and his answers become clear.
"Another pattern of [his] mode of testifying is as follows: he will
first make a statement which is false and will then, at a later time,
after the break, later in the same day, or the next day, or at the next
series of days of hearing, rectify or amend or modify or amplify the first
The two opposing
business appraisers had each produced three reports over a three-year
period, opining on (a) Monsieurs net worth and (b) his (i) "disposable
annual income", in the reports of Monsieurs valuator and
his (ii) "minimum real income before tax" (so-called "notional
income"), in the reports of Madames business valuator. (Each
successive valuation report was the result of information subsequently
discovered; the first valuation reports were issued in mid-1989, with
the latest reports being issued in the spring of 1994.) At trial, while
each of the business valuators testified on the contents of his latest
report, both experts nonetheless had to file various amending schedules
because of still additional information being produced and/or uncovered
with respect to Monsieurs financial position and world income.
Even though Madames
forensic valuator had been able to identify shares in a Far East operating
business as well as bank account, the absence of any financial or bank
statements made it impossible to even attempt to attribute any values
There were, of course, the typical opposing views expressed by the two
business valuators as to the level of earnings of the Canadian business,
the number of years to be used in the calculation of maintainable earnings,
the capitalization rate, financial liquidity and so forth.
The following example
is taken from the transcript of the proceedings before the trial court
with respect to the offshore business interests which Monsieur had been
in terms of [Far East Trading Co.], which is the [offshore] company
that you have an interest in, would you tell [the Court] when did you first
acquire your interest in that company, in what year?
A. It was, I believe it was 1986, I believe
And again, the last time we were in Court a year ago, you still owned that
interest; I take it you still own the interest today?
Has [your interest] changed at any time during the time that you owned the
shares in [Far East Trading Co.]?
So it has been constant from the date of acquisition until today?
Q. All right. I direct your attention to an examination conducted
by my associate, under oath of you, [in 1989],
and I direct you to
do you recall having been examined under oath by [my colleague,
on that date]?
A. I remember being, I dont remember the date, but Ill
take your word for it.
at line 24, Question:
[Far East Trading Co.], have
you ever head that name?
Question at the bottom of the page:
What are your interests in
Answer on page 15:
I buy from them.
Do you have an interest that company? What do you own in that
I dont own anything in that company.
So you are saying that all you do is buy from that company, thats
Are you informed of the financial situation of that company?
We are friends, and there are times that [the owner] might tell
me something about the company.
But not more than that?
Q. So then, that statement under oath was false.
A. That statement was corrected later. In
Q. That statement was corrected later?
A. Yes it was.
Q. That statement at the time was false was it not?
A. Yes, at that time it was.
Q. Thank you.
With respect to Monsieurs bank account, the following excerpt
from the transcripts is also revealing:
Now you also told us when we were here the last time that you operated
a bank account in [the Far East]?
Q. Do you still operate that bank account?
you have a passbook for the operation of this account,
Q. And am I correct to suggest to you that, in effect, this account
was the place where you deposited funds that you received from [Far East
Trading Co.], and which you didnt report on your income tax returns?
Finally, to "put the icing on the cake", Madames attorney
and Monsieur had the following exchange:
Now I put it to you
that you and your company have had occasion
to falsify invoices in respect of sales that you have made to [a major
foreign customer], that you have two sets of invoices in respect thereof.
One which is for a transaction between you and [Far East Trading Co.]
Q. And another for customs purposes, for the purpose of reducing
the value of the goods?
A. Yes. We were asked by [the foreign customer] to reduce the value
on the customs documents for [its own customs], so [it] could pay a smaller
amount of tax.
Q. So if I understand correctly, you were asked by the purchaser
of the goods to reduce the amount that you would show on an invoice in
order to defraud the customs
of customs duties, and when [your customer]
asked you to do this, you simply complied, you are happy to do it?
A. Well, I wouldnt put it that way, no.
Q. Well, excuse me. Not that you are happy to do it, no. Ill
withdraw the happy to do it. But in fact you complied, youre suggesting
to us, with such request. Correct?
A. Yes I did. And in this day and age, its very difficult make
sales. And when you have to do something that didnt affect my recording
of the transaction to the Canadian government or to my accountants, everything
is shown as it is made, dollar for dollar, and I was asked to do something
which is done basically every day, so it would help out my customer. And
I did do that, yes.
to what extent do you reduce the price: 5, 10, 15, 20,
A. It was usually, at the beginning it was 50%, and then I believe
it was 60 or 65% of actual invoice.
we supply a document that goes
with this shipment, showing a value now of approximately 60 or 65% of
Q. So in effect, what happens is that after you put through the
false invoice and have the goods cleared, you then send [the foreign customer]
the real invoice, which is the one that your company expects to be paid.
Q. And with whom did you make this illegal transaction?
A. I dont recall making any illegal transactions.
In another, unrelated matrimonial case before the Quebec Superior Court,
noting that the benefits enjoyed by the husband included vacation, travel,
meals, golf-club dues and fees, clothing, sets of golf clubs, home repairs,
antiques, furniture, paintings and other items of a purely personal
nature ?identified by the wifes business valuator ?the Court stated:
"[As] these charges as not taxed in
[the husbands] hands
, consequently these personal expenses
must be grossed-up to reflect what it would take in taxable
salary to defray such expenses. Assuming [husbands] marginal tax
rate to be [35%], $50,000 in personal expenses requires an additional
salary of [$77,000]".
"His [girlfriend] has been living with him for the past two years.
She is on the [company] payroll
for translations that she does for
the company. As well, she receives
in unemployment insurance every
two weeks. Her previous employment as a secretary paid $25,000 per year.
[Husband] admits that she travelled with him on 13 occasions in Canada,
the United States (Florida), Europe and the Orient
at company expense.
"[The girlfriend] testifies that in Hong Kong she checked some translations
and took phone messages. In past years [husband] travelled frequently
to the Orient and he managed very well without a personal secretary on
company expense. The Court finds that her expenses paid for by [the company]
are part of [the husbands] personal expenses.
"The Court accepts the [wifes valuators] analysis that
[husbands] lifestyle indicates an income far in excess of
what is report on his tax returns as well as on the Statement of Revenue
and Expenses filed by him with the Court."
In a family law case tried in the Province of Ontario, the judge felt
it incumbent upon him to report the undeclared taxable income to the
Canadian tax authorities by sending Revenue Canada a copy of the judgment:
"During argument I asked the parties
whether they thought it would be appropriate for me to send a copy of
these reasons to Revenue Canada. Neither clearly objected although the
idea obviously discomforted them.
"I noted that they not only evaded paying taxes ?part of which taxes
are used by government to fund the court system ?but also they incurred
significant public expense by exhaustively litigating their many disputes
in the court system which they saw fit not to support with their share
of taxes. They also seemed to take the position that I should not take
into account the past evasion of taxes or assumed the evasion will stop
in the future when I determine the value of the shares in the business
and determine the amount of child support.
"I do not find this acceptable. I believe it would bring the administration
of justice into disrepute if I were to simply ignore these matters.
"So far as I could, I have attempted to make my assessment as to
past and future matters on the assumption that taxes will be paid. If
the tax authorities do no learn of the evasion then these assumptions
will not be realistic.
"I am discomforted by being put in a position where I feel I should
bring the evasion of taxes to the attention of the authorities. On the
other had, the evidence put before me was adduced in a public courtroom
and any member of the public and any public official would be entitled
to observe or to publish a report of the proceeding. All the evidence
is now in the public domain.
"Simultaneously with their release, I am sending a copy of these
reasons to Revenue Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Revenue. They may
order a transcript of the evidence or review the exhibits filed at trial
as they see fit."
Sometimes, in performing a forensic valuation when not having access
to complete information and documentation, the business appraiser may
consider some of the experiences of the Internal Revenue Service, in
its Handbook for Special Agents, as well as the various IRS Market
Segment Specialization Program Audit Technique Guides. There are
23 Guides available to date. These are listed in the Appendix
and are available through the U.S. Government Information Sales Program,
Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20401.
In Canada, the Revenue department provides its tax auditors (field auditors)
and special investigators with a Taxation Operations Manual.
It is available to the public for inspection at various District Taxation
Offices, but much of the sensitive data have been extricated. In any
event, the types of conduct, symptoms or improprieties which might be
uncovered by Revenue Canadas tax auditors (the "front-line"
troops for enforcement), possibly triggering an "audit" by
agents of the Special Investigations Branch, include:
- Misleading characterization;
- Oral (rather than written) agreements;
- Creating documents;
- Offshore wealth;
- Use of nominees or frontmen;
- Multiple financial steps;
- Unusual expenses;
- Special allowances;
- Alteration of records;
- Disregard for books and records;
- Using cash instead of bank accounts.
While none of the foregoing, or even a combination thereof, will necessarily
trigger a special investigation, it will not doubt raise a "red
flag", with the matter being addressed only at the field-audit
Under-reporting income and/or overstating expenses affects, among other
- The value of a business and, hence, a business ownership interest;
- The position of the companys shareholders;
- The position of the companys creditors;
- The position of the (divorcing) spouse of a shareholder;
- The public treasury.
I read an article in FairShare a few years ago about a forensic
valuator in a matrimonial matter who was investigating a basic delicatessen
operation which catered to a breakfast and lunch crowd and derived most
of its income from the sale of pastrami, corned beef and other sandwiches
as well as coffee and various small grocery items. With the husband-owner
being sued for alimentary support, and being the type of cash business
that it was, not everything was recorded in the delis books.
The business appraisers client, the deli owners wife, tipped
off the appraiser that there were two cash registers with the proceeds
of only one being reported. When confronted by this allegation, the
husband acknowledged that he had two registers but one was "inoperable".
He did, however, comply with the accountants request for a copy
of the cash register tapes from the register that was operable. These
tapes tied into the income reported on the husbands tax return.
However, a physical visit to the deli by members of the valuators
firm revealed that both registers were being actively operated. The
husband, during his interview with members of the valuation firm, explained
to them how much product goes into the sandwiches. Subsequently, other
members of the valuation firm whom the husband had not seen before,
went to the deli and ordered a few sandwiches to take out. The valuators
took the sandwiches back to their office where they dismantled and weighed
them on two separate postage scales. On this basis, they were able to
calculate the cost of the ingredients that went into the sandwiches.
This was used as a model for determining (at least with respect to the
sandwich portion of the business) gross profit. The respective gross
profits from other segments of the business were determined by applying
In reconstructing the cost of a sandwich, a breakdown was made as among:
- The roll;
- Meat (in ounces);
- Cheese (in ounces);
- Tomato, lettuce, oil and vinegar.
Naturally, different types of sandwiches have different ingredients
and adjustments would be made as appropriate.
Having estimated the cost of a sandwich and knowing the selling price
from the menu, the cost percentage can be determined which, when viewed
in the context of the total business, can yield the weighted average
cost percentage. For example, if the aggregate cost of the ingredients
were $1.80 and the selling price of the sandwich $3.50, the cost ratio
would be 51.4%. Assuming that sandwich sales equal 45% of the business,
the weighted average cost ratio would be 23.13% (45% x 51.4%).
Separate calculations were made by the valuators with respect to potato
chips and packaged cakes, soft drinks, cigarettes, milk, grocery and
sundry as well as coffee. For example, the calculation with respect
to coffee was analyzed on the basis of the number of packages and the
yield in terms of cups (e.g., 80 packages yielding 560 cups). Milk,
cream and sugar would be factored in so that a cost of 560 cups of coffee
could be determined and, in a manner similar to that with respect to
the sandwiches, a weighted average cost ratio could be determined. (Based
on discussions and a review of various data, it was assumed that coffee
comprised 6% of the total business.)
Finally, an "error rate" and "wastage allowance"
was calculated at 6% of cost in arriving at the "reconstructed
cost of goods sold as a percentage of total sales". This percentage
was then applied to the total cost of sales during the period under
review in order to determine estimated total sales, as reconstructed
from the cost of goods sold. For example, if total cost of goods sold
for a nine-month period is $150,000, and the cost of goods sold as a
percentage of total sales is, say, 65% (based upon the weighted average
cost ratio determined earlier), estimated total sales would then be
$230,770. If reported sales for the period are $186,000, then implied
unreported sales would be $44,770 ($230,770 - $186,000). For the
full twelve months the implied unreported sales would be 12/9ths or
$59,690. The matter was settled.
Incidentally, having two (or more) cash registers) with one (or more)
being used for unreported sales as in the "deli case" is not
unique. For example, in a Canadian case (which involved a retail video
store operation), the judge commented as follows:
It is also in evidence and not
contradicted that, in the operation of the business, two cash registers
were used, one primarily for VHS cassettes and the other for Beta cassettes.
Apparently it was agreed between the three partners that the Beta cash
register would be used for unrecorded cash receipts and also by the partners
in order to withdraw cash from the business. It also appears that certain
expenses were paid from the receipts in this cash register. It is also
in evidence and uncontradicted (and I must assume that this figure is
correct), that each of the three shareholders withdrew from this cash
register a sum of approximately $8,000 during the period aforementioned
in partial repayment of the loans of $30,000 which each of them had made,
leaving a balance owing to each partner of approximately $22,000."
Assuming that the forensic business appraiser is confronted with a
similar situation, where complete disclosure is not forthcoming (whether
in a divorce matter, shareholder dispute, or other purpose), the accompanying
schedules and charts in the Appendix highlight some of the areas in
which the appraiser might consider focusing particular attention. He
or she must, in effect, "construct" or "reconstruct"
the financial statements of the subject enterprise ?and, typically,
this is only a starting point. I have used a detailed checklist geared
to a restaurant and bar establishment as well as other, more general,
areas requiring the use of "forensics" in the valuation process.
As will be noted, I have not focused at all there is no focus on the
balance sheet, as the assumed scenario is strictly income related. Naturally,
each investigative analysis will be tailor-made. Thank you.
VALUING A RESTAURANT AND BAR OPERATION
HAVING INACCURATE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
SAMPLE PRELIMINARY LIST OF INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS
(EFFECTIVE VALUATION DATE: DECEMBER 31, 1996)
Copies of leases for premises (and equipment, if applicable), indicating:
Interim financial statements, if any, for the period January 1, 1997
to May 31, 1997.
Copies of all income tax and sales tax assessments (and reassessments,
if any) for the 1992 to 1996 taxation years, inclusive.
Copy of any bank, mortgage financing, loan or grant applications made
from January 1, 1994 to the present date.
Detailed breakdown of the following corporate expenses in the 1992
to 1996 fiscal years:
- Date of commencement.
- Term of lease.
- Amount of rent (basic plus additional).
- Renewal options, if any (indicating terms and conditions thereof).
- Tax and any other escalations (e.g., utilities).
- Termination provisions.
- Transfer/assignment provisions.
Details of administrative remuneration, including (without limitation),
bonuses, expense accounts, car allowances, travel allowances, and any
other benefits of any nature whatsoever.
Details of all non-recurring and/or unusual expenses during fiscal
1994, 1995, and 1996.
Details of all related party and/or non-arms length transactions,
if any, from January 1, 1994 to the present.
Days and hours of normal operations, broken down between (a) meals
and (b) alcoholic beverages.
Seating capacity at the establishment, broken down among:
- Wages and supervision.
- General restaurant expense and supplies.
Details of live entertainment offered, if any, including related revenues
Details of private group functions, including (but not limited to)
luncheons and dinners in December 1993, December 1994, December 1995,
and December 1996 (number of persons per function, and copies of bills
for each group function).
Breakdown of sales among (a) alcoholic beverages and (b) food, and
(c) other (e.g., catering, etc.) for the 1994 to 1996 fiscal years.
Copy of insurance policy covering the Companys depreciable assets
and business interruption as of the valuation date.
Companys internal policy covering gratuities to:
- Seating at bar.
- Restaurant seating, broken down by location (e.g., main level,
upstairs, downstairs, outdoors.
Deposit books for the period January 1, 1994 to December 31, 1996
as well as bank statements, canceled checks, and cash receipts journal.
Copies of daily Cash Receipt Summaries (including breakdown among
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club, etc.) for the 1996
Copies of all entries in the General Journal from January 1, 1994
to the present.
Copies of waiters sign-out slips (i.e., summary, per waiter,
generated by the restaurant computer of the daily guest checks for customers
Copies of daily reports (including daily cash reports and tip reports,
if not already included in above) from June 1, 1996 to December 31,
Copies of Food Cost Reports for the relevant period (s).
Copies of supplier invoices for the 1994 to 1996 fiscal years for
(a) liquor, beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages, and (b) major
List of all house accounts, if any, along with respective charges
during fiscal 1996.
Copies of food menus and price lists prevailing throughout 1995 and
Pricing details of food "specials" (i.e., off-menu items)
during the 1996 fiscal year.
Pricing details of "Happy Hours", if any.
Price list for alcoholic beverages prevailing during the year.
Policy regarding spillage allowance.
Spillage statistics for 1994, 1995, and 1996.
Detailed inventory count, as at December 31, 1996, among: (a) alcoholic
beverages, (b) non-alcoholic beverages, (c) soft drinks, (d) food,
(e) supplies, etc.
Companys policy for employee meals (free, discounted, etc.).
Details of any expenses paid in cash and how these are recorded in
Copy of Petty Cash Journal covering 1994, 1995, and 1996
Details of coin-operated vending-machine contracts (if leased).
Details of vending-machine revenue during 1996.
Details of checkroom operations, including arrangements with hat-check
Copies of IRS Form 8027, "Employers Annual Information
Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips", filed for 1995 and 1996.
Copies of IRS "Tip Rate Determination Agreement".
Details of arrangements with parking-lot operator, if restaurant offers
- Waiters and waitresses.
- Kitchen staff.
- Other staff (e.g., valet and hat-check person).
VALUING A BUSINESS NOT HAVING
"RELIABLE" FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
PARTIAL DISCOVERY CHECKLIST
Financial statements for the five most recent fiscal years.
Monthly and quarterly financial statements for the five most recent
Copies of corporate income tax returns, including all related schedules,
for the five most recent taxation years.
Copies of Notices of Assessment (and Reassessment, if any) issued
by the taxation authorities (if applicable) with respect to the five
most recent taxation years.
Copies of all correspondence to/from the Internal Revenue Service
and any other taxation authorities, including state revenue departments,
and other government agencies during the most recent three years.
Copies of forecasts, budgets, and/or projections as of the valuation
Business Plan, if any.
Copies of all applications made for credit with any financial institution,
wherever located, within the immediately preceding 36 months, including
all documentation provided to such lending institution(s).
Copies of all credit card statements, with underlying details, on
a monthly basis, for the immediately preceding 36 months.
Schedule of all credit cards held with respect to which the company
pays all or a portion of the charges thereon, for the immediately preceding
Copies of any applications for government grants made within the immediately
preceding three (3) years, including all accompanying documentation.
Copies of all contracts to which the company was a party at the valuation
date, as well as any contracts which have been terminated or have expired
within the last five years.
Copies of monthly bank statements and canceled checks, debit memoranda,
deposit slips, and other relevant advices for the immediately preceding
36 months, from all banks and other financial institutions, wherever
Detailed breakdown of management remuneration, including (but not
limited to) salaries, bonuses, expense allowances, car allowances, golf
club, yacht club and other club dues and expenses, entertainment including
sports events, and other emoluments provided to management, directly,
indirectly or in any manner whatsoever.
Access to Sales Journal, Purchases Journal, Cash Receipts Book, Cash
Disbursements Book, Fixed Asset Ledger, General Journal, General Ledger,
and subsidiary ledgers (receivables and payables).
Copies of purchase, expense, and petty cash invoices for the last
List of suppliers.
Names and addresses of all travel agents used during the past three
Schedule of out-of-town travel of owner/manager including:
Schedule of all related entities and non-arms length entities.
Details of all significant third-party and non-arms length part
transactions within the immediately preceding 36 months.
List of all trade associations of which the company is a member.
Copies of accountants working papers, including adjusting and
closing journal entries, for the immediately preceding three fiscal
List of all trade publications to which the company subscribes.
Details of all non-recurring and unusual expenses during the immediately
preceding five fiscal years.
Inventory count and costing sheets.
Costing and production records.
Approximate cost of trade shows and promotional material (if appropriate).
- Purpose of visit.
- Place(s) visited.
- Duration of stay.
- Copies of invoices for hotel and other accommodation.
- Copies of airline tickets.
- Person(s) accompanied by.
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE
AUDIT TECHNIQUE GUIDES
Alaskan Commercial Fishing:
Auto Body and Repair Industry
Bars and Restaurants
Bed and Breakfasts
Beauty and Barber Shops
- Catcher Vessels
- Processors and Brokers
Mobile Food Vendors
Passive Activity Losses
The Port Project ?water transportation-port related industries
Resolution Trust Corporation, Cancellation of Indebtedness
- Important 1040 Issues
- Music Industry
© copyright Wise, Blackman 1999-2003