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Monthly Archives: September 2014

We have distilled decades of experience at the intersection of law, business and finance into a suite of articles to help our clients make sense of business valuation, forensic accounting, and litigation support. Please visit our site regularly for our latest content.

Cash Businesses and Divorce

Posted in Matrimonial & Divorce, on Sep 2014, By: Mark S. Gottlieb

After Colorado instituted Amendment 64 in early 2014, a profitable industry sprouted up around the legalization of marijuana. However, despite these new businesses generating roughly $3 million in state taxes in January 2014 alone, they have encountered serious problems with reliable accountability. Because marijuana still violates federal law, banks remain hesitant to associate with marijuana businesses. This has forced many Colorado shops to remain cash-only businesses which, tax collectors worry, may result in understatements of sales and income. If this occurs, Colorado could be short-changed on a large portion of taxes. In fact, most cash-only businesses lend themselves to potential fraud. This can have damaging effects not only for tax collectors, but also for litigants in a matrimonial action. While child support is calculated differently by each state, spousal support depends on a variety of factors and is often up to the court.  One key element that helps calibrate support is the spouses’ income, assets, and the total marital estate. Ideally, financial and tax records accurately reflect monetary resources and the need of both spouses. However, this is often not true—especially in cases involving cash-based businesses. Cash-based businesses are enterprises where customers make a large percentage of payments in cash. These transactions have great potential for bypassing proper documentation and taxation. Property bought with cash can also help conceal unreported income. In a divorce, therefore, the suspicion of unreported income is potentially detrimental to a non-business-owner spouse and the couple’s children, and must be investigated. The first step a non-business-owner […]


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Recently released and on parole, Tyco’s former CEO Dennis Kozlowski was the epitome of excess compensation in the beginning of the millennium. Despite the fact he transformed a small enterprise into a billion-dollar giant, he was convicted of fraud for using Tyco as his “personal piggy bank.” This and other white-collar crimes have led to the creation of better monitoring parameters and resources to help define employees’ salaries, especially those of top executives. Often, owners of closely-held businesses can easily manipulate their business’s profitability by paying themselves more or less than reasonable compensation. Business valuation experts can serve as a reliable professional resource whose contribution goes beyond tests and industry-specific statistics. IRS Guidelines and Parameters Section 162(m)(4)(C) and Section 162(m)(4)(E) of the Internal Revenue Code are both used as guidelines in tracking performance-based compensation. From describing the roles of the board of directors in determining compensation, to establishing further forms of compensation, such as bonuses, these two codes give an outline for investigating an executive or owner’s proper compensation. In addition to the Revenue Code, the IRS’s Fringe Benefits Audit Technique Guide assists by listing the benefits commonly provided to executives, potential issues, and also provides steps to help examine same. Both bonuses and benefits received by owners can be complex and ambiguous depending on the case. Bonuses can be clearly recorded, or simply rely on a handshake. Benefits, similarly, can often not be taxed to the recipient, but rather recorded within the operating expenses of the business. This concept […]


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