26 CFR § 1.615-3 - Election to defer pre-1970 exploration expenditures.
(a) General rule. A taxpayer who makes the election provided in section 615(e) may defer any portion of the exploration expenditures made before January 1, 1970, with respect to each mine or other natural deposit, subject to the limitations described in section 615(c) and § 1.615-4. The amounts so deferred shall be deducted ratably as the units of produced ores or minerals discovered or explored by reason of such expenditures are sold.
(b) Effect and manner of making election.
(1) The election to defer exploration expenditures shall apply only to expenditures for the taxable year for which made. However, once made, the election shall be binding with respect to the expenditures for that taxable year. Thus, a taxpayer cannot revoke his election for any reason whatsoever.
(2) The election shall be made for each mine or other natural deposit by a clear indication on the return or by a statement filed with the district director with whom the return was filed, not later than the time prescribed by law for filing such return (including extensions thereof) for the taxable year to which such election is applicable.
(c) Expenditures made by the owner who retains a non-operating mineral interest.
(1) A taxpayer who elects to defer exploration expenditures and thereafter transfers his interest in the mine or other natural deposit, retaining an economic interest therein, shall deduct an amount attributable to such interest on a pro rata basis as the interest pays out. For example, a taxpayer who defers exploration expenditures and then leases his deposit, retaining a royalty interest therein, shall deduct the deferred expenditures ratably as he receives royalties. If the taxpayer receives a bonus or advanced royalties in connection with the transfer of his interest, he shall deduct deferred expenditures allocable to such bonus or advanced royalties in an amount which is in the same proportion to the total of such costs as the bonus or advanced royalties bears to the bonus and total royalties expected to be received. Also, in the case of a transfer of a mine or other natural deposit by a taxpayer who retains a production payment therein, he shall deduct the exploration expenditures ratably over the payments expected to be received.
(2) Where a taxpayer receives an amount, in addition to retaining an economic interest, which amount is treated as from the sale or exchange of a capital asset or property treated under section 1231 (except coal or iron ore to which section 631(c) applies), the deferred exploration expenditures shall be allocated between the interest sold and the interest retained in proportion to the fair market values of each interest as of the date of sale. The amount allocated to the interest sold may not be deducted, but shall be a part of the basis of such interest.
(e) Computation of amount of deduction. The amount of the deduction allowable during the taxable year is an amount A, which bears the same ratio to B (the total deferred exploration expenditures for a particular mine or other natural deposit reduced by the amount of such expenditures deducted in prior taxable years) as C (the number of units of the ore or mineral benefited by such expenditures sold during the taxable year) bears to D (the number of units of ore or mineral benefited by such expenditures remaining as of the taxable year). For the purposes of this proportion, the number of units of ore or mineral benefited by such expenditures remaining as of the taxable year is the number of units of ore or mineral benefited by the deferred exploration expenditures remaining at the end of the year to be recovered from the mine or other natural deposit (including units benefited by such expenditures recovered but not sold) plus the number of units benefited by such expenditures sold within the taxable year. The principles outlined in § 1.611-2 are applicable in estimating the number of units remaining as of the taxable year and the number of units sold during the taxable year. The estimate is subject to revision in accordance with that section in the event it is ascertained from any source, such as operations or development work, that the remaining units are materially greater or less than the number of units remaining from a prior estimate.
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