A California client, one of the oldest continuously operated family-owned wineries in the country, wanted to review their equipment values with an eye toward possible property tax appeal. Including in the holdings were tanks, bottling equipment, support machinery and equipment including forklifts and wastewater systems, agricultural equipment, restaurant equipment and, of course, office and administrative equipment and furniture.
Appraisal review isn't just for appraisers. While attorneys and CPAs may be best served by hiring a trained reviewer for questionable appraisals, they can do an initial pass using a quick checklist of a handful of common appraisal report mistakes. We discuss these errors in great detail in the ARM accreditation classes offered by ASA and they'll of course be included in the appraisal review presentation I'll be sharing at the CalCPA Forensic Services Section Joint Sections Meeting in San Francisco this October.
We're currently working with a speciality harvesting equipment appraisal in the Salinas area that's compiling an asset list for the upcoming equipment inspection. Several conversations and email exchanges regarding how to compile an effective equipment list – in conjunction with some recent interesting inspection experiences – have freshly reminded me of how important a good asset list is to an efficient equipment appraisal, and certainly to asset inspection.
Divorce is never easy. If your divorce involves a business, it's even more complex. We've worked with many attorneys and business owners to provide appraisals for divorces, some more amiable than others. One thing that all of these situations have in common is that by the time our appraisal firm is called in, the divorce process has usually been going on for some time. Our goal in the process is to help finalize the situation so that the parties involved can move on with their lives. We do our best to make the appraisal process as efficient and easy as we can.
Sellers almost invariably overestimate the value of their equipment, according to Hahn. The only way to get an accurate estimate, he adds, is through a professional, industry-specific equipment appraisal, the results of which probably will be surprising to many.
There are many more purposes for which valuations are used. Each has its unique presumptions. It must be understood that there is no one value and that the same investment can have a different value to different people and for different reasons. Each valuator must analyze such differences, understand the presumptions inherent in the purpose for which the valuation is to be used, and select and implement a method to determine proper value for the purpose.
While gauging competency in appraisal review is similar to using a limit gauge in order to determine whether a part is within prescribed limits of tolerance, it's not, of course, that simple. An appraiser's competency depends on a number of factors, ranging from experience with the equipment and its market to the intended use of the appraisal and the analytical method best used to value the equipment.
What would you think if I told you that the value of wine tanks increases annually? That the longer you use them the more they're worth? You'd think I was out of my mind! It just doesn't sound reasonable, does it? How can it be possible that the value of equipment as standard as wine tanks goes up annually? And yet, because of the way that wine tanks are assessed in California, the assessment value for ad valorem taxes often does increase annually whether the value of the tanks actually increases or not. Considering that wine tanks often make up a large portion of a winery's fixed asset value, this unreasonable alleged increase in value can create an expensive problem.
Appraisers frequently refer to what they do as an "art." And in fact, the word "art" features prominently in the title of a book on appraisal review published by a major appraisal organization. But the practice of referring to appraisals and appraisal review as an "art" can be problematic, especially when we're providing appraisals to the legal community.