Brad Feld

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409A – Oh How I Love Thy Wiliness

Jan 09, 2008

Now that one of our favorite IRS regs – Mr. 409a – has been around for a while, it’s still causing plenty of confusion, wasted time, energy, and money.  The final regulations – issued in April – are to become effective on January 1, 2008.  However, one 9/10/07, the IRS announced that they were extended the compliance deadline a year – it’s now 12/31/08 instead of 12/31/07.  Thanks Uncle Sam – that’s nice.

The whole thing is still stupid for small companies where there should be some sort of exemption.  Since this doesn’t seem like it’ll happen, it’d be nice if the IRS and the Financial Accounting Standards Board could get together and let the accountants be able to either accept the 409A valuation as part of FAS 123 or – even better – let the FAS 123 valuation be used for the 409A valuation.

Yeah – that would be too easy, logical, and would make the auditors job more straightforward, which would mean less work and billings for them. 

Since you are going to get charged for it anyway, I suggest you send your auditors a copy of your 409A valuation report whenever you get them (many of our companies get them quarterly – once you get a rhythm established, it seems to be the least expensive and lowest risk approach to this absurdity.)  By sending the 409A valuation report to your auditor whenever you get them, you can at least ask the question "do you support this valuation" on a regular basis.  Most auditors won’t give you a straight answer, but at least they can’t say "hey – you never showed us the 409A valuations" during your annual audit when their FAS 123 valuations are coming out significantly different than your 409A valuations.