26 U.S. Code § 455 - Prepaid subscription income
Prepaid subscription income to which this section applies shall be included in gross income for the taxable years during which the liability described in subsection (d)(2) exists.
This section shall apply to prepaid subscription income if and only if the taxpayer makes an election under this section with respect to the trade or business in connection with which such income is received. The election shall be made in such manner as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe. No election may be made with respect to a trade or business if in computing taxable income the cash receipts and disbursements method of accounting is used with respect to such trade or business.
An election made under this section shall apply to all prepaid subscription income received in connection with the trade or business with respect to which the taxpayer has made the election; except that the taxpayer may, to the extent permitted under regulations prescribed by the Secretary, include in gross income for the taxable year of receipt the entire amount of any prepaid subscription income if the liability from which it arose is to end within 12 months after the date of receipt. An election made under this section shall not apply to any prepaid subscription income received before the first taxable year for which the election is made.
A taxpayer may, with the consent of the Secretary, make an election under this section at any time.
A taxpayer may, without the consent of the Secretary, make an election under this section for his first taxable year in which he receives prepaid subscription income in the trade or business. Such election shall be made not later than the time prescribed by law for filing the return for the taxable year (including extensions thereof) with respect to which such election is made.
An election under this section shall be effective for the taxable year with respect to which it is first made and for all subsequent taxable years, unless the taxpayer secures the consent of the Secretary to the revocation of such election. For purposes of this title, the computation of taxable income under an election made under this section shall be treated as a method of accounting.
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 which extends beyond the close of the taxable year in which such amount is received, and which is income from a subscription to a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical.
The term “liability” means a liability to furnish or deliver a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, any taxpayer who has, for taxable years prior to the first taxable year to which this section applies, reported his income under an established and consistent method or practice of accounting for prepaid subscription income (to which this section would apply if an election were made) may continue to report his income for taxable years to which this title applies in accordance with such method or practice.
1976—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 94–455, § 1906(b)(13)(A), struck out “or his delegate” after “Secretary” wherever appearing.
Subsec. (c)(3)(B). Pub. L. 94–455, § 1901(a)(67), substituted “for his first taxable year in which he receives prepaid subscription income in the trade or business” for “for his first taxable year (i) which begins after December 31, 1957, and (ii) in which he receives prepaid subscription income in the trade or business”.
Written determinations for this section
These documents, sometimes referred to as "Private Letter Rulings", are taken from the IRS Written Determinations page; the IRS also publishes a fuller explanation of what they are and what they mean. The collection is updated (at our end) daily. It appears that the IRS updates their listing every Friday.
Note that the IRS often titles documents in a very plain-vanilla, duplicative way. Do not assume that identically-titled documents are the same, or that a later document supersedes another with the same title. That is unlikely to be the case.
Release dates appear exactly as we get them from the IRS. Some are clearly wrong, but we have made no attempt to correct them, as we have no way guess correctly in all cases, and do not wish to add to the confusion.
We truncate results at 20000 items. After that, you're on your own.