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Jonathan has owned and operated a golf driving range for a number of years.

Jonathan has owned and operated a golf driving range for a number of years. The sole proprietorship has been successful and grown to the point where it now also offers golf lessons and sponsors tournaments and other activities. Jonathan has been advised that incorporating his proprietorship would give him an opportunity to restruc- ture the business debt and to acquire additional working capital at more favorable rates. Based on this advice, Jonathan transfers the business assets (fair market value $1 mil- lion, adjusted basis $200,000) along with the associated debt ($325,000) to the newly formed corporation. As far as he is concerned, nothing has really changed in his relation- ship with the creditor bank: he still feels personally obligated to pay off the debt. In fact, before the debt is assigned to the newly formed corporation, the bank insists that Jona- than remain secondarily responsible for its payment (i.e., he guaranteed the debt). Even though the proprietorship’s liabilities transferred exceed the basis of the assets trans- ferred, Jonathan regards the transaction as tax-free because: •  Nothing has changed with his business other than its form of operation. •  A business justification exists for changing its form to that of a corporation. •  He has enjoyed no personal gain from the transaction. •  He is still obligated with respect to the debt. Determine whether Jonathan is justified in his position. If you believe the transaction as currently planned would be taxable, identify strategies that could be used to eliminate or reduce gain recognition.

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