ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE Definition

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ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE refers to the application of income tax laws, i.e., the substance of the transaction, rather than its form, determines the tax consequences, with few exceptions. The "form" of a transaction is only the label the interested parties attach to their arrangement. For instance, an arrangement might be called a compensation agreement, loan, lease or sale. Documents may support the form, but the courts are not concerned with these labels or papers that purport to govern the transaction -- they focus on its substance. The "substance over form" analysis is used to dissect self-serving transactions between parties, including loans and payments to family members; transactions between related corporations and their shareholders, partnerships and their partners; and between trusts and their beneficiaries. For instance, sale of a home by a parent to a child may be re-characterized by the court as a gift, if the child never pays for it. Related-party transactions provide fertile territory for self-dealing, with the tax benefit as the real motivating purpose, disguised by the form of the transaction. In contrast, arms-length transactions with independent third parties are far less vulnerable.

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PROFIT AND LOSS STATEMENT (P&L) is also known as an income statement. It shows your business revenue and expenses for a specific period of time. The difference between the total revenue and the total expense is your business net income. A key element of this statement, and one that distinguishes it from a balance sheet, is that the amounts shown on the statement represent transactions over a period of time while the items represented on the balance sheet show information as of a specific date (or point in time).

NOTARY PUBLIC is a certifier of legal documents, i.e., somebody who is legally authorized to certify the authenticity of signatures and documents. Also called notary.

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