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Your Accountant Says You Need a “Qualified Appraisal”. Where Do You Start?

Your company is being audited. You’re purchasing a company and need to allocate the purchase price across the assets. You’re getting divorced, or married, or your spouse passed away. You bought a helicopter. You sold a helicopter. You donated a helicopter to a museum.


Whatever the reason, you have a transaction that needs to be reported to the IRS.


The IRS has defined criteria for a qualified appraisal and a qualified appraiser. A “qualified appraisal” is one performed by a “qualified appraiser” in accordance with generally accepted appraisal standards.


In the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and several other countries, those “accepted standards” are the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). In most other countries they are the International Valuation Standards (IVS) or the RICS Red Book. This is your first checkpoint – if your appraiser doesn’t comply with the standards, look for another appraiser.


Your second checkpoint is discovering whether your appraiser is qualified.


A “qualified appraiser” has either earned an appraisal designation from a recognized professional organization, or has similar education and experience, in the type of property subject to the appraisal. S/he must “regularly” perform appraisals for hire. And s/he may not have been prohibited from practicing over the past 3 years.

A helicopter is defined as a piece of personal property in the specialty of “machinery and equipment.” There are very few recognized professional appraiser organizations covering machinery and equipment: American Society of Appraisers (ASA), Association of Machinery and Equipment Appraisers (AMEA), and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) come to mind.


Of these organizations, two have at least one helicopter appraiser: ASA and RICS. Both meet the minimum education and experience requirements of the IRS. Appraisers accredited by either organization have passed multiple courses in appraisal principles, the accepted standards of their organization, ethics examinations, peer reviews of their appraisal reports or case studies, and have at least five years of appraisal experience. Both organizations have mandatory Continuing Professional Education requirements. The ASA further has a specialty designation just for aircraft (yet another test to be passed before accreditation.)


The appraisers and analysts at HeliValue$, Inc., are all either accredited by the ASA or are in training for their accreditation. We have two Accredited Senior Appraisers, one Accredited Member (who is very near advancement to Senior status), and two Analysts still in coursework.


Sharon Desfor, ASA, MRICS, is president of HeliValue$, Inc., the world’s most trusted helicopter appraisal firm, and publisher of The Official Helicopter Blue Book®, the accepted standard for helicopter resale pricing information. Sharon is an Accredited Senior Appraiser of the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. She currently serves on the ASA’s Board of Governors. Sharon is past Chair both of the Helicopter Foundation International and of the Finance & Leasing Committee of the HAI. You can find her profile at www.linkedin.com/in/sharondesfor.