Joel Farrar is a business and tax lawyer, with specialties in executive compensation planning, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and securities. He is a shareholder with Foster Swift and works primarily out of the Lansing office. He is the co-leader of the firm’s Business and Tax Practice Group and he is also the leader of Foster Swift's State and Local Tax (SALT) Group, which focuses on Michigan property and non-property tax planning, administrative appeals and litigation.
Joel particularly enjoys helping new entrepreneurs with forming and growing start-up businesses. He assists start-ups with raising capital through private placements of securities; attracting talent using stock options, restricted stock and other incentive plans; developing and documenting relationships with vendors, customers and partners; and addressing the many other challenges before them.
Joel also works with established businesses of all sizes on the issues they face every day and with major events. He regularly assists businesses with corporate governance, contract preparation and negotiation, dispute resolution, regulatory compliance as well as tax and succession planning. He has also helped numerous clients buy businesses or sell their own through taxable and nontaxable stock, asset and merger transactions. Joel is skilled at preparing businesses and their management teams for major transactions, negotiating letters of intent, preparing and performing comprehensive due diligence, drafting and negotiating purchase and other transaction documents and closing the deal.
Through his work with executive management teams, Joel has developed particular expertise in the area of executive compensation and nonqualified deferred compensation agreements. Joel is well versed in Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code and other tax rules and regularly uses that knowledge to design compensation programs that align executives’ incentives with the company’s goals. Joel has helped numerous clients implement and administer a variety of plans, such as stock option plans, restricted stock plans, phantom stock plans, stock appreciation rights (SAR) plans, deferred compensation and commission plans, split dollar insurance plans, retiree medical plans and customized bonus plans. Joel also assists clients with correcting mistakes in their existing programs, which can save their executives from substantial tax penalties.
Joel received his juris doctorate from Michigan State University College of Law, summa cum laude and his Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Joel is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Ingham County Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
Memberships & Affiliations
- State Bar of Michigan
- Ingham County Bar Association
Industry & Professional Associations:
- Entrepreneur Institute of Mid-Michigan, Board of Directors
- Volunteer of the Year, 2015
- Mid-Michigan Travel Coalition (2018-present)
- The Arts Council of Greater Lansing, Board of Directors (2010-2012)
- Business Planning and Operation: Business entity selection and formation, closely-held and family businesses, corporate governance, executive compensation, employment law, regulatory compliance, E-commerce, commercial transactions, information technology, international business transactions, joint ventures, business succession planning, dissolution and winding up.
- Securities, Corporate Governance, Private and Public Finance: Private equity and venture capital transactions, securities reporting and compliance, investment adviser and broker-dealer regulation, tax credit financing, government and nonprofit governmental purpose and private activity bond financing, public-private partnerships.
- Mergers & Acquisitions: Private and public mergers, stock transactions, asset purchases, joint ventures, tender offers, proxy contests and divisional transactions, employee benefits in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.
- Employee Benefits: Executive compensation planning and agreements, for-profit and non-profit executive deferred compensation arrangements and plan funding, qualified benefit plan and trust design and administration, welfare benefit arrangements, fiduciary and regulatory compliance and reporting, IRS and DOL audits and appeals, plan mergers, spin-offs and transfers, plan termination.
- Tax and Estate Planning: Domestic and international corporate tax, partnership/LLC tax, tax exempt and charitable organizations, state and local tax, tax credit financing and transactions, tax examinations and litigation, estate and gift tax and planning, lifetime gifting, wills, trusts and family LLCs.
Recent Blog Posts
BizTech Law Blog
Tax Law Blog
- Time to Review Your Deferred Compensation Agreements – IRS Issues Proposed Regulations on Section 409A
- New Michigan Legislation Repeals the Flow-Through Entity Withholding Requirement
- Motivating Your Employees
- Notice of New Sales and Use Tax Requirements for Out-Of-State Sellers
- Michigan Passes New “Amazon Tax” Law Requiring Internet Sales Tax Collection
- Michigan Treasury Highlights Individual Income Tax Developments for 2014
- IRS Auditing Deferred Compensation Plans for Section 409A Compliance
- Avoid Potential Tax Penalties on Foreign Bank Accounts and Investments
- Avoid Taxes and Penalties on Your Business’s Compensation Arrangements
- Protect Yourself from the Risks of a Sole Proprietorship, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law News, February 29, 2016
- Scam Alert for Michigan Businesses!, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law Report, August 5, 2013
- UCC Article 9 Revised Effective as of July 1, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law Report, July 23, 2013
- Protect your Business from Check Fraud, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law Report, May 2013
- Tax Exempt? Don’t Forget to File Your Form 990 by May 15!, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law Report, May 2013
- How the Fiscal Cliff Legislation May Affect Your Business, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law Report, March 5, 2013
News & Events
- Joel Farrar Named Co-Leader of the Foster Swift Business & Corporate Practice Group, February 24, 2016
- Entrepreneur Institute of Mid-Michigan names Attorney Joel C. Farrar "Volunteer of the Year", June 11, 2015
- Foster Swift Elects Behler, Farrar and Richardson as Shareholders, January 21, 2014
- Business Life Cycle from Legal Perspective, NALA, July 27-29, 2011
- Business & Tax
- Business Contracts
- Business Law
- Employee Benefits
- Estate Planning
- Executive Compensation
- Federal Taxation
- General Counsel
- International Taxation
- Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Transactions & Alliances
- Michigan Tax
- Property Tax
- Securities Law
- Startup Entrepreneurial Emerging Development (S.E.E.D)
- State and Federal Audits and Tax Disputes
- Tax Law
Michigan State University College of Law, J.D., 2007, summa cum laude
Ohio University, B.S., 2003
Bar and Court Admissions