26 CFR § 1.455-5 - Definitions and other rules.
(a) Prepaid subscription income.
(1) The term “prepaid subscription income” means any amount includible in gross income which is received in connection with, and is directly attributable to, a liability of the taxpayer which extends beyond the close of the taxable year in which such amount is received and which is income from a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical. For example where Corporation X, a publisher of newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals makes sales on a subscription basis and the purchaser pays the subscription price in advance, prepaid subscription income would include the amounts actually received by X in connection with its liability to furnish or deliver the newspaper, magazine, or other periodical.
(2) For purposes of section 455, prepaid subscription income does not include amounts received by a taxpayer in connection with sales of subscriptions on a prepaid basis where such taxpayer does not have the liability to furnish or deliver a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical. The provisions of this subparagraph may be illustrated by the following example. Corporation D has a contract with each of several large publishers which grants it the right to sell subscriptions to their periodicals. Corporation D collects the subscription price from the subscribers, retains a portion thereof as its commission and remits the balance to the publishers. The amount retained by Corporation D represents commissions on the sale of subscriptions, and is not prepaid subscription income for purposes of section 455 since the commissions represent compensation for services rendered and are not directly attributable to a liability of Corporation D to furnish or deliver a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical.
(c) Receipt of prepaid subscription income. For purposes of section 455, prepaid subscription income shall be treated as received during the taxable year for which it is includible in gross income under section 451, relating to general rule for taxable year of inclusion, without regard to section 455.
(d) Treatment of prepaid subscription income under an established accounting method. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 455 and § 1.455-1, any taxpayer who, for taxable years beginning before January 1, 1958, has reported prepaid subscription income for income tax purposes under an established and consistent method or practice of deferring such income may continue to report such income in accordance with such method or practice for all subsequent taxable years to which section 455 applies without making an election under section 455.