Reasonable Compensation Job Aid for IRS Valuation Professionals





This Job Aid is not an official pronouncement of law, and cannot be used, cited, or relied upon as such.

This Job Aid is a guide for IRS Valuation Professionals on the Reasonable Compensation issue in Not-for-Profit and For-Profit entities. The Reasonable Compensation issue is factually intensive and must be determined based on all relevant facts and circumstances. The IRS Valuation Professional must first develop all relevant facts and then use professional judgment in choosing appropriate comparables and computing reasonable compensation using applicable valuation approaches.

Although the specific target of this Job Aid is IRS Valuation Professionals, the material in the Aid should be helpful to Revenue Agents and other IRS Field Personnel engaged in identifying and/or developing a Reasonable Compensation issue. It can provide guidance at the risk analysis stage and serve as a template for information collection and analysis.



The purpose of this Job Aid is to assist IRS Valuation Professionals (Valuation Analysts) in their examination of Reasonable Compensation and to help them to better understand the available approaches. The Job Aid discusses the valuation methods currently used in determining Reasonable Compensation. These methods include the market approach, which is the most commonly used

method; the income approach; and, finally, the least used method, the cost approach.


The Reasonable Compensation issue usually involves a determination of whether the amount of compensation paid is reasonable so that it is deductible under section 162 of the Internal Revenue Code for income tax purposes. In some cases, the Reasonable Compensation issue comes up when the amount of compensation paid may be lower than reasonable to avoid the payment of employment taxes.1 For tax-exempt entities, the issue involves the application of section 4958, taxes on excess benefit transactions, and reflects a concern that excessively high compensation may unduly enrich officers, directors, trustees or key employees of the tax-exempt entity at the expense of the qualified charitable purpose.

The Tax Court first considered the "Reasonable Compensation" issue in 1917. Due to the factual nature of the issue, it remains a subject of considerable controversy. Thorough factual development is a key to analyzing the issue...