Classifying contracts -
(1) In general. After applying the severing and aggregating rules of paragraph (e) of this section, a taxpayer must determine the classification of a contract (e.g., as a long-term manufacturing contract, long-term construction contract, non-long-term contract) based on all the facts and circumstances known no later than the end of the contracting year. Classification is determined on a contract-by-contract basis. Consequently, a requirement to manufacture a single unique item under a long-term contract will subject all other items in that contract to section 460.
(2) Hybrid contracts -
(i) In general. A long-term contract that requires a taxpayer to perform both manufacturing and construction activities (hybrid contract) generally must be classified as two contracts, a manufacturing contract and a construction contract. A taxpayer may elect, on a contract-by-contract basis, to classify a hybrid contract as a long-term construction contract if at least 95 percent of the estimated total allocable contract costs are reasonably allocable to construction activities. In addition, a taxpayer may elect, on a contract-by-contract basis, to classify a hybrid contract as a long-term manufacturing contract subject to the PCM.
(ii) Elections. A taxpayer makes an election under this paragraph (f)(2) by using its method of accounting for similar construction contracts or for manufacturing contracts, whichever is applicable, to account for a hybrid contract entered into during the taxable year of the election on its original federal income tax return for the election year. If an electing taxpayer's method is the PCM, the taxpayer also must use the PCM to apply the look-back method under § 1.460-6 and to determine alternative minimum taxable income under § 1.460-4(f).
(3) Method of accounting. Except as provided in paragraph (f)(2)(ii) of this section, a taxpayer's method of classifying contracts is a method of accounting under section 446 and, thus, may not be changed without the Commissioner's consent. If a taxpayer's method of classifying contracts is unreasonable, that classification method is an impermissible accounting method. A taxpayer may adopt any permissible method of accounting for each classification of contract. Such adoption is not a change in method of accounting under section 446 and the accompanying regulations. For example, a taxpayer that has had only contracts classified as nonexempt long-term contracts and has used the PCM for these contracts may adopt an exempt contract method in the taxable year it first enters into an exempt long-term contract.
(4) Use of estimates -
(i) Estimating length of contract. A taxpayer must use a reasonable estimate of the time required to complete a contract when necessary to classify the contract (e.g., to determine whether the five-year completion rule for qualified ship contracts under § 1.460-2(d), or the two-year completion rule for exempt construction contracts under § 1.460-3(b), is satisfied, but not to determine whether a contract is completed within the contracting year under paragraph (b)(1) of this section). To be considered reasonable, an estimate of the time required to complete the contract must include anticipated time for delay, rework, change orders, technology or design problems, or other problems that reasonably can be anticipated considering the nature of the contract and prior experience. A contract term that specifies an expected completion or delivery date may be considered evidence that the taxpayer reasonably expects to complete or deliver the subject matter of the contract on or about the date specified, especially if the contract provides bona fide penalties for failing to meet the specified date. If a taxpayer classifies a contract based on a reasonable estimate of completion time, the contract will not be reclassified based on the actual (or another reasonable estimate of) completion time. A taxpayer's estimate of completion time will not be considered unreasonable if a contract is not completed within the estimated time primarily because of unforeseeable factors not within the taxpayer's control, such as third-party litigation, extreme weather conditions, strikes, or delays in securing permits or licenses.
(ii) Estimating allocable contract costs. A taxpayer must use a reasonable estimate of total allocable contract costs when necessary to classify the contract (e.g., to determine whether a contract is a home construction contract under § 1.460-(3)(b)(2)). If a taxpayer classifies a contract based on a reasonable estimate of total allocable contract costs, the contract will not be reclassified based on the actual (or another reasonable estimate of) total allocable contract costs.
(g) Special rules for activities benefitting long-term contracts of a related party -
(1) Related party use of PCM -
(i) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (g)(1)(ii) of this section, if a related party and its customer enter into a long-term contract subject to the PCM, and a taxpayer performs any activity that is incident to or necessary for the related party's long-term contract, the taxpayer must account for the gross receipts and costs attributable to this activity using the PCM, even if this activity is not otherwise subject to section 460(a). This type of activity may include, for example, the performance of engineering and design services, and the production of components and subassemblies that are reasonably expected to be used in the production of the subject matter of the related party's contract.
(ii) Exception for components and subassemblies. A taxpayer is not required to use the PCM under this paragraph (g) to account for a component or subassembly that benefits a related party's long-term contract if more than 50 percent of the average annual gross receipts attributable to the sale of this item for the 3-taxable-year-period ending with the contracting year comes from unrelated parties.
(2) Total contract price. If a taxpayer is required to use the PCM under paragraph (g)(1)(i) of this section, the total contract price (as defined in § 1.460-4(b)(4)(i)) is the fair market value of the taxpayer's activity that is incident to or necessary for the performance of the related party's long-term contract. The related party also must use the fair market value of the taxpayer's activity as the cost it incurs for the activity. The fair market value of the taxpayer's activity may or may not be the same as the amount the related party pays the taxpayer for that activity.
(3) Completion factor. To compute a contract's completion factor (as described in § 1.460-4(b)(5)), the related party must take into account the fair market value of the taxpayer's activity that is incident to or necessary for the performance of the related party's long-term contract when the related party incurs the liability to the taxpayer for the activity, rather than when the taxpayer incurs the costs to perform the activity.
(h) Effective date -
(1) In general. Except as otherwise provided, this section and §§ 1.460-2 through 1.460-5 are applicable for contracts entered into on or after January 11, 2001.
(2) Change in method of accounting. Any change in a taxpayer's method of accounting necessary to comply with this section and §§ 1.460-2 through 1.460-5 is a change in method of accounting to which the provisions of section 446 and the regulations thereunder apply. For the first taxable year that includes January 11, 2001, a taxpayer is granted the consent of the Commissioner to change its method of accounting to comply with the provisions of this section and §§ 1.460-2 through 1.460-5 for long-term contracts entered into on or after January 11, 2001. A taxpayer that wants to change its method of accounting under this paragraph (h)(2) must follow the automatic consent procedures in Rev. Proc. 99-49 (1999-52 I.R.B. 725) (see § 601.601(d)(2) of this chapter), except that the scope limitations in section 4.02 of Rev. Proc. 99-49 do not apply. Because a change under this paragraph (h)(2) is made on a cut-off basis, a section 481(a) adjustment is not permitted or required. Moreover, the taxpayer does not receive audit protection under section 7 of Rev. Proc. 99-49 for a change in method of accounting under this paragraph (h)(2). A taxpayer that wants to change its exempt-contract method of accounting is not granted the consent of the Commissioner under this paragraph (h)(2) and must file a Form 3115, “Application for Change in Accounting Method,” to obtain consent. See Rev. Proc. 97-27 (1997-1 C.B. 680) (see § 601.601(d)(2) of this chapter).
(3) Changes made by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Pub. L. 115-97). Paragraph (f)(3) of this section, and § 1.460-5(d)(1) and (d)(3), apply for contracts entered into in taxable years beginning on or after January 5, 2021. However, for contracts entered into after December 31, 2017, in a taxable year ending after December 31, 2017, and before January 5, 2021, a taxpayer may apply paragraph (f)(3) of this section, and § 1.460-5(d)(1) and (d)(3), provided that the taxpayer also applies the applicable rules contained in the regulations under section 460 for such taxable year and all subsequent taxable years.