Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Fair Market Value

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Fair Market Value

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Fair Market Value

Fair Market Value is the unbiased price at which assets are exchanged between informed, unpressured buyers and sellers in an open market.

What Is Fair Market Value?

Fair Market Value (FMV) refers to the price at which any tangible asset changes hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller when both parties have reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts and neither is under any compulsion to buy or sell. It represents the true and objective value of an asset in a free and open market.

FMV is used in various contexts in real estate, securities, and charitable contributions.

How Do You Calculate FMV?

The calculation of FMV can vary depending on the type of asset or property involved. Generally, FMV is determined by considering various factors such as comparable sales, income potential, replacement cost, and the condition of the asset. Common methods used to calculate FMV include:

Market Comparison Approach: This method involves comparing the asset in question to similar assets that have recently been sold in the market.

Income Approach: This approach is used for income-generating assets and considers the potential income the asset can generate in the future.

Cost Approach: This method assesses the cost to replace or reproduce the asset at the current market rates.

Is Market Value The Same As FMV?

Market value and FMV are closely related concepts but are not the same. Market value is a broader term and can sometimes include factors such as buyer and seller motivations and special circumstances.

FMV, on the other hand, focusses on a hypothetical transaction in a typical market with willing parties, devoid of external influences or pressures.

How Is FMV Calculated For Shares?

Calculating the FMV for shares typically involves evaluating the financial health of the company, its earnings, growth potential, and other relevant market factors. The market price of publicly traded shares is often used as a starting point.

For private company shares, more complex methods may be employed, considering the company’s financial statements, industry trends, and any recent transactions involving similar shares.

How Does FMV Impact Valuation Methods & Taxes?

FMV is a crucial concept in valuation methods and taxation. Its impact can be significant in determining the value of assets and in tax assessments.

Valuation Methods:

  • Asset Valuation: FMV is often used to determine the value of assets during various transactions such as sales, mergers, acquisitions, or for financial reporting purposes. It helps in assessing the worth of an asset in a competitive and open market.
  • Estate Planning: In estate planning or during inheritance, FMV is essential to determine the value of assets passed on to beneficiaries. It ensures fairness in the distribution of assets and can have implications for estate taxes.
  • Financial Reporting: Companies use FMV for financial reporting purposes, especially for assets and liabilities carried on the balance sheet. The assigned value impacts financial ratios, disclosures, and potential impairment charges.

Tax Implications:

  • Income Tax: FMV is used to determine the tax liability arising from the sale or exchange of property or assets. Capital gains or losses are calculated based on the difference between the selling price and FMV at the time of acquisition.
  • Estate and Gift Tax: FMV is crucial for estate and gift tax purposes. The value of assets subject to gift tax or estate tax is based on their fair market value at the time of gifting or the decedent’s death.
  • Property Tax: Local governments often use FMV to assess property taxes. The assessed value of real estate or personal property determines the tax obligation of the property owner.


  • Accuracy In Valuation: FMV ensures a fair and accurate assessment of assets, reducing the potential for undervaluation or overvaluation, which could impact tax liabilities and financial decisions.
  • Compliance: Adhering to FMV standards is essential for compliance with tax laws and regulations. Failure to use an accurate FMV can lead to penalties or legal issues.
  • Negotiations and Transactions: FMV plays a crucial role in negotiations, especially during transactions. Parties involved often refer to the FMV as a benchmark for fair pricing.
  • Economic Conditions: Fluctuations in market conditions can impact FMV, affecting valuations and, subsequently, tax implications.