26 CFR § 1.615-1 - Pre-1970 exploration expenditures.
(a) General rule. Section 615 prescribes rules for the treatment of expenditures (paid or incurred before January 1, 1970) for ascertaining the existence, location, extent, or quality of any deposit of ore or other mineral (other than oil or gas) paid or incurred by the taxpayer before the beginning of the development stage of the mine or other natural deposit. Such expenditures hereinafter in the regulations under section 615 will be referred to as exploration expenditures. The development stage of the mine or other natural deposit will be deemed to begin at the time when, in consideration of all the facts and circumstances (including the actions of the taxpayer), deposits of ore or other mineral are shown to exist in sufficient quantity and quality to reasonably justify commercial exploitation by the taxpayer. A taxpayer who elects under section (e) may treat exploration expenditures under either section 615(a) or section 615(b). See § 1.615-6 for the method of making the election to treat exploration expenditures under section 615. Under section 615(a), a taxpayer may, at his option, deduct exploration expenditures paid or incurred in an amount not to exceed $100,000 for any taxable year. Under section 615(b) and § 1.615-2, he may elect to defer any part of such amount and deduct such part on a ratable basis as the units of produced minerals benefited by such expenditures are sold. If the taxpayer does not treat exploration expenditures under either section 615 (a) or (b) in any year for which his election under section 615(e) is effective, the expenditures for such year will be charged to depletable capital account. The option to deduct under section 615(a) and the election to defer under section 615(b), however, are subject to the limitation provided in section 615(c) and § 1.615-4. In the case of certain corporations which are members of an affiliated group which has elected the 100 percent dividends received deduction under section 243(b), see section 243(b) (3) and § 1.243-5 for limitations on the option to deduct under section 615(a) and the election to defer under section 615(b).
(b) Expenditures to which section 615 is not applicable.
(2) Section 615 is not applicable to expenditures which are reflected in improvements subject to allowances for depreciation under sections 167 and 611. However, allowances for depreciation of such improvements which are used in the exploration of ores or minerals are considered exploration expenditures under section 615. If such improvements are used only in part for exploration during a taxable year, an allocable portion of the allowance for depreciation shall be treated as an exploration expenditure.
(3) Section 615 is applicable to exploration expenditures paid or incurred by a taxpayer in connection with the acquisition of a fractional share of the working or operating interest to the extent of the fractional interest so acquired by the taxpayer. The expenditures attributable to the remaining fractional share shall be considered as the cost of his acquired interest and shall be recovered through depletion allowances. For example, taxpayer A owns mineral leases on unexplored mineral lands and agrees to convey an undivided three-fourths ( 3/4) interest in such leases to taxpayer B provided B will pay all of the exploration expenditures for ascertaining the existence, location, extent, or quality of any deposit of ore or other mineral which will be incurred before the beginning of the development stage. B shall treat three-fourths of such amount under section 615, and shall treat one-fourth of such amount as part of the cost of his interest, recoverable through depletion.
(4) The provisions of section 615 do not apply to costs of exploration which are reflected in the amount which the taxpayer paid or incurred to acquire the property. Such provisions apply only to costs paid or incurred by the taxpayer for exploration undertaken directly or through a contract by the taxpayer. See, however, sections 381(a) and 381(c) (10) for special rules with respect to deferred exploration expenditures in certain corporate acquisitions.
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