26 CFR § 1.448-2 - Limitation on the use of the cash receipts and disbursements method of accounting for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017.

§ 1.448-2 Limitation on the use of the cash receipts and disbursements method of accounting for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017.

(a) Limitation on method of accounting -

(1) In general. The rules of this section relate to the limitation on the use of the cash receipts and disbursements method of accounting (cash method) by certain taxpayers applicable for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. For rules applicable to taxable years beginning before January 1, 2018, see §§ 1.448-1 and 1.448-1T.

(2) Limitation rule. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the computation of taxable income using the cash method is prohibited in the case of a:

(i) C corporation;

(ii) Partnership with a C corporation as a partner, or a partnership that had a C corporation as a partner at any time during the partnership's taxable year beginning after December 31, 1986; or

(iii) Tax shelter.

(3) Treatment of combination methods -

(i) In general. For purposes of this section, the use of a method of accounting that records some, but not all, items on the cash method is considered the use of the cash method. Thus, a C corporation that uses a combination of accounting methods including the use of the cash method is subject to this section.

(ii) Example. The following example illustrates the operation of this paragraph (a)(3). In 2020, A is a C corporation with average annual gross receipts for the prior three taxable years of greater than $30 million, is not a tax shelter under section 448(a)(3) and does not qualify as a qualified personal service corporation, as defined in paragraph (e) of this section. For the last 20 years, A used an accrual method for items of income and expenses related to purchases and sales of inventory, and the cash method for items related to its provision of services. A is using a combination of accounting methods that include the cash method. Thus, A is subject to section 448. A is prohibited from using the cash method for any item for 2020 and is required to change to a permissible method.

(b) Definitions. For purposes of this section -

(1) C corporation -

(i) In general. The term C corporation means any corporation that is not an S corporation (as defined in section 1361(a)(1)). For example, a regulated investment company (as defined in section 851) or a real estate investment trust (as defined in section 856) is a C corporation for purposes of this section. In addition, a trust subject to tax under section 511(b) is treated, for purposes of this section, as a C corporation, but only with respect to the portion of its activities that constitute an unrelated trade or business. Similarly, for purposes of this section, a corporation that is exempt from Federal income taxes under section 501(a) is treated as a C corporation only with respect to the portion of its activities that constitute an unrelated trade or business. Moreover, for purposes of determining whether a partnership has a C corporation as a partner, any partnership described in paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section is treated as a C corporation. Thus, if partnership ABC has a partner that is a partnership with a C corporation, then, for purposes of this section, partnership ABC is treated as a partnership with a C corporation partner.

(ii) [Reserved]

(2) Tax shelter -

(i) In general. The term tax shelter means any -

(A) Enterprise, other than a C corporation, if at any time, including taxable years beginning before January 1, 1987, interests in such enterprise have been offered for sale in any offering required to be registered with any Federal or state agency having the authority to regulate the offering of securities for sale;

(B) Syndicate, within the meaning of paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section; or

(C) Tax shelter, within the meaning of section 6662(d)(2)(C).

(ii) Requirement of registration. For purposes of paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) of this section, an offering is required to be registered with a Federal or state agency if, under the applicable Federal or state law, failure to register the offering would result in a violation of the applicable Federal or state law. This rule applies regardless of whether the offering is in fact registered. In addition, an offering is required to be registered with a Federal or state agency if, under the applicable Federal or state law, failure to file a notice of exemption from registration would result in a violation of the applicable Federal or state law, regardless of whether the notice is in fact filed. However, an S corporation is not treated as a tax shelter for purposes of section 448(d)(3) or this section merely by reason of being required to file a notice of exemption from registration with a state agency described in section 461(i)(3)(A), but only if all corporations offering securities for sale in the state must file such a notice in order to be exempt from such registration.

(iii) Syndicate -

(A) In general. For purposes of paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B) of this section, the term syndicate means a partnership or other entity (other than a C corporation) if more than 35 percent of the losses of such entity during the taxable year (for taxable years beginning after December 31, 1986) are allocated to limited partners or limited entrepreneurs. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(2)(iii), the term limited entrepreneur has the same meaning given such term in section 461(k)(4). In addition, in determining whether an interest in a partnership is held by a limited partner, or an interest in an entity or enterprise is held by a limited entrepreneur, section 461(k)(2) applies in the case of the trade or business of farming (as defined in paragraph (d)(2) of this section), and section 1256(e)(3)(C) applies in all other cases. Moreover, for purposes of paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the losses of a partnership, entity, or enterprise (entities) means the excess of the deductions allowable to the entities over the amount of income recognized by such entities under the entities' method of accounting used for Federal income tax purposes (determined without regard to this section). For this purpose, gains or losses from the sale of capital assets or assets described in section 1221(a)(2) are not taken into account.

(B) Irrevocable annual election to test the allocation of losses from prior taxable year -

(1) In general. For purposes of paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(A) of this section, to determine if more than 35 percent of the losses of a venture are allocated to limited partners or limited entrepreneurs, entities may elect to use the allocations made in the immediately preceding taxable year instead of using the current taxable year's allocation. An election under this paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(B) applies only to the taxable year for which the election is made. Except as otherwise provided in guidance published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (see § 601.601(d)(2) of this chapter), a taxpayer that makes an election under this paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(B) must apply this election for other provisions of the Code that specifically apply the definition of tax shelter in section 448(a)(3).

(2) Time and manner of making election. A taxpayer makes this election for the taxable year by attaching a statement to its timely filed original Federal income tax return (including extensions) for such taxable year. The statement must state that the taxpayer is making the election under § 1.448-2(b)(2)(iii)(B). In the case of an S corporation or partnership, the election is made by the S corporation or the partnership and not by the shareholders or partners. An election under this paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(B) may not be made by the taxpayer in any other manner. For example, the election cannot be made through a request under section 446(e) to change the taxpayer's method of accounting. A taxpayer may not revoke an election under this paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(B).

(3) Administrative guidance. The IRS may publish procedural guidance in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (see § 601.601(d)(2) of this chapter) that provides alternative procedures for complying with paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(B)(2) of this section.

(C) Examples. The following examples illustrate the rules of paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section. For purposes of the examples, the term “losses” has the meaning stated in paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(A) of this section.

(1) Example 1. Taxpayer B is a calendar year limited partnership, with no active management from its limited partner. For 2019, B is profitable and has no losses to allocate to its limited partner. For 2020, B is not profitable and allocates 60 percent of its losses to its general partner and 40 percent of its losses to its limited partner. For 2021, B is not profitable and allocates 50 percent of its losses to its general partner and 50 percent of its losses to its limited partner. For taxable year 2020, B makes an election under paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(B) of this section to use its prior year allocated amounts. Accordingly, for 2020, B is not a syndicate because B was profitable for 2019 and did not allocate any losses to its limited partner in 2019. For 2021, B is a syndicate because B allocated 50 percent of its 2021 losses to its limited partner under paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(3)(A) of this section. Even if B made an election under paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(B) of this section to use prior year allocated amounts, B is a syndicate for 2021 because B allocated 40 percent of its 2020 losses to its limited partner in 2020. Because B is a syndicate under paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(A) of this section for 2021, B is a tax shelter prohibited from using the cash method for taxable year 2021 under paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B) of this section.

(2) Example (2). Same facts as Example (1) in paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(C)(1) of this section, except for 2021, B is profitable and has no losses to allocate to its limited partner. For 2020, B makes an election under paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(B) of this section to use its prior year allocated amounts. Accordingly, for 2020, B is not a syndicate because it did not any allocate any losses to its limited partner in 2019. For 2021, B chooses not to make the election under paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(B) of this section. For 2021, B is not a syndicate because it does not have any 2021 losses to allocate to a limited partner. For taxable years 2019, 2020 and 2021, B is not a syndicate under paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(A) of this section and is not prohibited from using the cash method for taxable years 2019, 2020 or 2021 under paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B) of this section.

(iv) Presumed tax avoidance. For purposes of (b)(2)(i)(C) of this section, marketed arrangements in which persons carrying on farming activities using the services of a common managerial or administrative service will be presumed to have the principal purpose of tax avoidance if such persons use borrowed funds to prepay a substantial portion of their farming expenses. Payments for farm supplies that will not be used or consumed until a taxable year subsequent to the taxable year of payment are an example of one type of such prepayment.

(v) Taxable year tax shelter must change accounting method. A tax shelter must change from the cash method for the taxable year that it becomes a tax shelter, as determined under paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(vi) Determination of loss amount. For purposes of section 448(d)(3), the amount of losses to be allocated under section 1256(e)(3)(B) is calculated without regard to section 163(j).

(c) Exception for entities with gross receipts not in excess of the amount provided in section 448(c) -

(1) In general. Except in the case of a tax shelter, this section does not apply to any C corporation or partnership with a C corporation as a partner for any taxable year if such corporation or partnership (or any predecessor thereof) meets the gross receipts test of paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

(2) Gross receipts test -

(i) In general. A corporation meets the gross receipts test of this paragraph (c)(2) if the average annual gross receipts of such corporation for the 3 taxable years (or, if shorter, the taxable years during which such corporation was in existence, annualized as required) ending with such prior taxable year does not exceed the gross receipts test amount provided in paragraph (c)(2)(v) of this section (section 448(c) gross receipts test). In the case of a C corporation exempt from Federal income taxes under section 501(a), or a trust subject to tax under section 511(b) that is treated as a C corporation under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, only gross receipts from the activities of such corporation or trust that constitute unrelated trades or businesses are taken into account in determining whether the gross receipts test is satisfied. A partnership with a C corporation as a partner meets the gross receipts test of paragraph (c)(2) of this section if the average annual gross receipts of such partnership for the 3 taxable years (or, if shorter, the taxable years during which such partnership was in existence annualized as required) ending with such prior year does not exceed the gross receipts test amount of paragraph (c)(2)(v) of this section. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section, the gross receipts of the corporate partner are not taken into account in determining whether a partnership meets the gross receipts test of paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

(ii) Aggregation of gross receipts. The aggregation rules in § 1.448-1T(f)(2)(ii) apply for purposes of aggregating gross receipts for purposes of this section.

(iii) Treatment of short taxable year. The short taxable year rules in § 1.448-1T(f)(2)(iii) apply for purposes of this section.

(iv) Determination of gross receipts. The determination of gross receipts rules in § 1.448-1T(f)(2)(iv) apply for purposes of this section.

(v) Gross receipts test amount -

(A) In general. For purposes of paragraph (c) of this section, the term gross receipts test amount means $25,000,000, adjusted annually for inflation in the manner provided in section 448(c)(4). The inflation adjusted gross receipts test amount is published annually in guidance published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (see § 601.601(d)(2)(ii) of this chapter).

(B) Example. Taxpayer A, a C corporation, is a plumbing contractor that installs plumbing fixtures in customers' homes or businesses. A's gross receipts for the 2017-2019 taxable years are $20 million, $16 million, and $30 million, respectively. A's average annual gross receipts for the three taxable-year period preceding the 2020 taxable year is $22 million (($20 million + $16 million + $30 million)/3) = $22 million. A may use the cash method for its trade or business for the 2020 taxable year because its average annual gross receipts for the preceding three taxable years is not more than the gross receipts test amount of paragraph (c)(2)(vi) of this section, which is $26 million for 2020.

(d) Exception for farming businesses -

(1) In general. Except in the case of a tax shelter, this section does not apply to any farming business. A taxpayer engaged in a farming business and a separate non- farming business is not prohibited by this section from using the cash method with respect to the farming business, even though the taxpayer may be prohibited by this section from using the cash method with respect to the non- farming business.

(2) Farming business -

(i) In general. For purposes of paragraph (d) of this section, the term farming business means -

(A) The trade or business of farming as defined in section 263A(e)(4) (including the operation of a nursery or sod farm, or the raising or harvesting of trees bearing fruit, nuts or other crops, or ornamental trees),

(B) The raising, harvesting, or growing of trees described in section 263A(c)(5) (relating to trees raised, harvested, or grown by the taxpayer other than trees described in paragraph (d)(2)(i)(A) of this section),

(C) The raising of timber, or

(D) Processing activities which are normally incident to the growing, raising, or harvesting of agricultural products.

(ii) Example. Assume a taxpayer is in the business of growing fruits and vegetables. When the fruits and vegetables are ready to be harvested, the taxpayer picks, washes, inspects, and packages the fruits and vegetables for sale. Such activities are normally incident to the raising of these crops by farmers. The taxpayer will be considered to be in the business of farming with respect to the growing of fruits and vegetables, and the processing activities incident to the harvest.

(iii) Processing activities excluded from farming businesses -

(A) In general. For purposes of this section, a farming business does not include the processing of commodities or products beyond those activities normally incident to the growing, raising, or harvesting of such products.

(B) Examples.

(1) Example 1. Assume that a C corporation taxpayer is in the business of growing and harvesting wheat and other grains. The taxpayer processes the harvested grains to produce breads, cereals, and similar food products which it sells to customers in the course of its business. Although the taxpayer is in the farming business with respect to the growing and harvesting of grain, the taxpayer is not in the farming business with respect to the processing of such grains to produce breads, cereals, and similar food products which the taxpayer sells to customers.

(2) Example 2. Assume that a taxpayer is in the business of raising livestock. The taxpayer uses the livestock in a meat processing operation in which the livestock are slaughtered, processed, and packaged or canned for sale to customers. Although the taxpayer is in the farming business with respect to the raising of livestock, the taxpayer is not in the farming business with respect to the meat processing operation.

(e) Exception for qualified personal service corporation. The rules in § 1.448-1T(e) relating to the exception for qualified personal service corporations apply for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017.

(f) Effect of section 448 on other provisions. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(B) of this section, nothing in section 448 shall have any effect on the application of any other provision of law that would otherwise limit the use of the cash method, and no inference shall be drawn from section 448 with respect to the application of any such provision. For example, nothing in section 448 affects the requirement of section 447 that certain corporations must use an accrual method of accounting in computing taxable income from farming, or the requirement of § 1.446-1(c)(2) that, in general, an accrual method be used with regard to purchases and sales of inventory. Similarly, nothing in section 448 affects the authority of the Commissioner under section 446(b) to require the use of an accounting method that clearly reflects income, or the requirement under section 446(e) that a taxpayer secure the consent of the Commissioner before changing its method of accounting. For example, a taxpayer using the cash method may be required to change to an accrual method of accounting under section 446(b) because such method clearly reflects the taxpayer's income, even though the taxpayer is not prohibited by section 448 from using the cash method. Similarly, a taxpayer using an accrual method of accounting that is not prohibited by section 448 from using the cash method may not change to the cash method unless the taxpayer secures the consent of the Commissioner under section 446(e).

(g) Treatment of accounting method change and rules for section 481(a) adjustment -

(1) In general. Any taxpayer to whom section 448 applies must change its method of accounting in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph (g). In the case of any taxpayer required by this section to change its method of accounting, the change shall be treated as a change initiated by the taxpayer to compute the adjustment required under section 481. A taxpayer must change to an overall accrual method of accounting for the first taxable year the taxpayer is subject to this section or a subsequent taxable year in which the taxpayer is newly subject to this section after previously making a change in method of accounting that complies with section 448 (mandatory section 448 year). A taxpayer may have more than one mandatory section 448 year. For example, a taxpayer may exceed the gross receipts test of section 448(c) in non-consecutive taxable years. If the taxpayer complies with the provisions of paragraph (g)(3) of this section for its mandatory section 448 year, the change shall be treated as made with the consent of the Commissioner. The change shall be implemented pursuant to the applicable administrative procedures to obtain the automatic consent of the Commissioner to change a method of accounting under section 446(e) as published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (see Revenue Procedure 2015-13 (2015-5 IRB 419) (or successor) (see also § 601.601(d)(2) of this chapter)). This paragraph (g) applies only to a taxpayer who changes from the cash method as required by this section. This paragraph (g) does not apply to a change in method of accounting required by any Code section (or applicable regulation) other than this section.

(2) Section 481(a) adjustment. The amount of the net section 481(a) adjustment and the adjustment period necessary to implement a change in method of accounting required under this section are determined under § 1.446-1(e) and the applicable administrative procedures to obtain the Commissioner's consent to change a method of accounting as published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (see Revenue Procedure 2015-13 (2015-5 IRB 419) (or successor) (see also § 601.601(d)(2) of this chapter).

(h) Applicability dates. The rules of this section apply for taxable years beginning on or after January 5, 2021. However, for a taxable year beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 5, 2021, a taxpayer may apply the rules provided in this section provided that the taxpayer follows all the applicable rules contained in the regulations under section 448 for such taxable year and all subsequent taxable years.

[T.D. 9942, 86 FR 269, Jan. 5, 2021]