Form 8938 – Valuation guidelines

I was asked about the valuation of foreign assets for Form 8938. Here’s more on Form 8938 – https://www.mooresrowland.tax/2014/11/fbars-and-form-8938.html

Fair market value

Fair market value –
(1) In general. For purposes of sections 897, 1445, and 6039C only, the term “fair market value” means the value of the property determined in accordance with the rules, contained in this paragraph (o). The definition of fair market value provided herein is not to be used in the calculation of gain or loss from the disposition of a U.S. real property interest pursuant to section 1001. An independent professional appraisal of the value of property must be submitted only if such an appraisal is specifically requested in connection with the negotiation of a security agreement pursuant to section 1445.
(2) Method of calculating fair market value –
(i) In general. The fair market value of property is its gross value (as defined in paragraph (o)(2)(ii) of this section) reduced by the outstanding balance of any debts secured by the property which are described in paragraph (o)(2)(iii) of this section. See § 1.897-2(b) for the alternative use of book values in certain limited circumstances.
(ii) Gross value. Gross value is the price at which the property would change hands between an unrelated willing buyer and willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of all relevant facts. Generally, with respect to trade or business assets, going concern value should be used as it will provide the most accurate reflection of such a price. However, taxpayers may use other methods of valuation if they can establish that such method will provide a more accurate determination of gross value and if they consistently apply such method to all assets to be valued. See subdivisions (3) and (4) of this paragraph (o) for special rules with respect to the valuation of leases and of intangible assets.
(iii) Debts secured by the property. The gross value of property shall be reduced by the outstanding balance of debts that are:
(A) Secured by a mortgage or other security interest in the property that is valid and enforceable under the law of the jurisdiction in which the property is located, and
(B) Either (1) Incurred to acquire the property (including long-term financing obtained in replacement of construction loans or other short-term debt within one year of the acquisition or completion of the property), or (2) otherwise incurred in direct connection with the property, such as property tax liens upon real property or debts incurred to maintain or improve property.
(iv) Anti-abuse rule. The gross value of real property located outside the United States and of assets used or held for use in a trade or business shall be reduced by the outstanding balance of any debt that was entered into for the principal purpose of avoiding the provisions of section 897, 1445, or 6039C by enabling the corporation to acquire such assets. The existence of such a purpose shall be determined with reference to all the facts and circumstances. Debts that a particular corporation routinely enters into in the ordinary course of its acquisition of assets used or held for use in its trade or business will not be considered to be entered into for the principal purpose of avoiding the provisions of section 897, 1445, or 6039C.
(3) Fair market value of leases and options. For purposes of sections 897, 1445, and 6039C, the fair market value of a leasehold interest in real property is the price at which the lease could be assigned or the property sublet, neither party to such transaction being under any compulsion to enter into the transaction and both having reasonable knowledge of all relevant facts. Thus, the value of a leasehold interest will generally consist of the present value, over the period of the lease remaining, of the difference between the rental provided for in the lease and the current rental value of the real property. A leasehold interest bearing restrictions on its assignment or sublease has a fair market value of zero, but only if those restrictions in practical effect preclude (rather than merely condition) the lessee’s ability to transfer, at a gain, the benefits of a favorable lease. The normal commercial practice of lessors may be used to determine whether restrictions in a lease have the practical effect of precluding transfer at a gain. The fair market value of an option to purchase any property is, similarly, the price at which the option could be sold, consisting generally of the difference between the option price and the fair market value of the property, taking proper account of any restrictions upon the transfer of the option.
(4) Fair market value of intangible assets. For purposes of determining whether a corporation is a U.S. real property holding corporation, the fair market value of intangible assets described in § 1.897-1(f)(1)(ii) may be determined in accordance with the following rules.
(i) Purchase price. Intangible assets described in § 1.897-1(f)(1)(ii) that were acquired by purchase from a person not related to the purchaser within the meaning of § 1.897-1(i) may be valued at their purchase price. However, such purchase price must be adjusted to reflect any amortization required by generally accepted accounting principles applied in the United States. Intangible assets acquired by purchase shall include any amounts allocated to goodwill or going concern valued pursuant to section 338(b)(3) and regulations thereunder. Intangible assets acquired by purchase shall not include assets that were acquired indirectly through an acquisition of stock to which section 338 does not apply. Such assets must be value pursuant to a method described in subdivision (ii) or (iii) of this paragraph (o)(4).
(ii) Book value. Intangible assets described in § 1.897-1(f)(1)(ii) (other than good will and going concern value) may be valued at the amount at which such assets are carried on the financial accounting records of the holder of such assets, provided that such amount is determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles applied in the United States. However, this method may not be used with respect to assets acquired by purchase from a related person within the meaning of § 1.897-1(i).
(iii) Other methods. Intangible assets described in § 1.897-1(f)(1)(ii) may be valued pursuant to any other reasonable method at an amount reflecting the price at which the asset would change hands between an unrelated willing buyer and willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of all relevant facts. However, a corporation that uses a method of valuation other than the purchase price or book value methods may be required to comply with the special notification requirements of § 1.897-2(h)(1)(iii)(A).
(p) Identifying number. The “identifying number” of an individual is the individual’s United States social security number or the identification number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (see § 301.6109-1 of this chapter). The “identifying number” of any other person is its United States employer identification number.


§ 1.6038D-5 Valuation guidelines.

(a) Fair market value. Except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (e) of this section, the value of a specified foreign financial asset for purposes of determining the aggregate value of specified foreign financial assets held by a specified person and the maximum value of a specified foreign financial asset required to be reported on Form 8938, “Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets,” is the asset’s fair market value.

(b) Valuation of assets –

(1) Maximum value. Except as provided in this section, the maximum value of a specified foreign financial asset means a reasonable estimate of the asset’s maximum fair market value during the taxable year.

(2) U.S. dollars. For purposes of determining the aggregate value of specified foreign financial assets in which a specified person has an interest and determining the maximum value of a specified foreign financial asset, the value of a specified foreign financial asset denominated in a foreign currency during the taxable year must be determined in the foreign currency and then converted to U.S. dollars.

(3) Asset with no positive value. If the maximum fair market value of a specified foreign financial asset is zero or less than zero, then the asset’s value is treated as zero for purposes of determining the aggregate value of specified foreign financial assets in which a specified person has an interest, and the maximum value of the specified foreign financial asset is zero for purposes of reporting under § 1.6038D-4(a)(5).

(c) Foreign currency conversion –

(1) In general. Except as provided in paragraphs (c)(2) and (d) of this section, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service foreign currency exchange rate is to be used to convert the value of a specified foreign financial asset into U.S. dollars for purposes of determining the aggregate value of specified foreign financial assets in which a specified person has an interest and determining the maximum value of a specified foreign financial asset.

(2) Other publicly available exchange rate. If no U.S. Treasury Department Bureau of the Fiscal Service foreign currency exchange rate is available for a particular currency, another publicly available foreign currency exchange rate may be used to convert the value of a specified foreign financial asset into U.S. dollars. In such case, the source of the foreign currency exchange rate must be disclosed on Form 8938.

(3) Currency exchange rate. In converting the currency of a foreign country, the foreign currency exchange rate applicable for converting the currency into U.S. dollars (that is, to purchase U.S. dollars) must be used.

(4) Determination date. In converting the currency of a foreign country into U.S. dollars for purposes of determining the maximum value of a specified foreign financial asset and determining the aggregate value of specified foreign financial assets in which a specified person has an interest, the applicable foreign currency exchange rate is the rate on the last day of the taxable year of the specified person, even if the specified person sold or otherwise disposed of a specified foreign financial asset prior to the last day of such year.

(d) Financial accounts. A specified person may rely upon periodic account statements that are provided at least annually by or on behalf of a financial institution maintaining an account, including the foreign currency conversion reflected in those statements, to determine the financial account‘s maximum value unless the specified person has actual knowledge, or reason to know based on readily accessible information, that the statements do not reflect a reasonable estimate of the maximum account value during the taxable year.

(e) Asset held in a financial account. The value of an asset held in a financial account maintained by a foreign financial institution is included in determining the value of that financial account for purposes of § 1.6038D-5(a).

(f) Other specified foreign financial assets –

(1) General rule. Except as provided in paragraphs (f)(2) and (3) of this section, for specified foreign financial assets that are not financial accounts and that are held for investment and not held in an account maintained by a financial institution, a specified person may use the value of the asset as of the last day of the taxable year on which the specified person has an interest in the asset as the maximum value of that asset, unless the specified person has actual knowledge, or reason to know based on readily accessible information, that the value does not reflect a reasonable estimate of the maximum value of the asset during the taxable year.

(2) Interests in trusts that are specified foreign financial assets –

(i) Maximum value. If a specified person is a beneficiary of a foreign trust, the maximum value of the specified person‘s interest in the trust is the sum of –

(A) The fair market value, determined as of the last day of the taxable year, of all of the currency or other property distributed from the foreign trust during the taxable year to the specified person as a beneficiary; and

(B) The value, determined as of the last day of the taxable year, of the specified person‘s right as a beneficiary to receive mandatory distributions from the foreign trust as determined under section 7520.

(ii) Reporting threshold. For purposes of determining the aggregate value of specified foreign financial assets in which a specified person has an interest, if the specified person does not know, or have reason to know based on readily accessible information, the fair market value of the person‘s interest in a foreign trust during the taxable year, the value to be included in determining the aggregate value of the specified foreign financial assets is the maximum value of the specified person‘s interest in the foreign trust under paragraph (f)(2)(i) of this section.

(3) Interests in estates, pension plans, and deferred compensationplans –

(i) Maximum value. The maximum value of a specified person‘s interest in a foreign estate, foreign pension plan, or foreign deferred compensation plan is the fair market value, determined as of the last day of the taxable year, of the specified person‘s beneficial interest in the assets of the foreign estate, foreign pension plan, or foreign deferred compensation plan. If the specified person does not know, or have reason to know based on readily accessible information, such fair market value, the maximum value to be reported is the fair market value, determined as of the last day of the taxable year, of the currency and other property distributed during the taxable year to the specified person as a beneficiary or participant.

(ii) Reporting threshold. For purposes of determining the aggregate value of specified foreign financial assets in which a specified person has an interest, if the specified person does not know, or have reason to know based on readily accessible information, the fair market value of the person‘s interest in a foreign estate, foreign pension plan, or foreign deferred compensation plan during the taxable year, the value to be included in determining the aggregate value of the specified foreign financial assets is the fair market value, determined as of the last day of the taxable year, of the currency and other property distributed during the taxable year to the specified person as a beneficiary or participant.

(g) Effective/applicability dates. This section applies to taxable years ending after December 19, 2011. Taxpayers may elect to apply the rules of this section to taxable years ending prior to December 19, 2011.[T.D. 9706, 79 FR 73830, Dec. 12, 2014]

source – https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/26/1.6038D-5

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