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Title 26 Part 1 → §1.481-1

Title 26 → Chapter I → Subchapter A → Part 1 → §1.481-1

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 26 Part 1 → §1.481-1

e-CFR data is current as of September 19, 2019

Title 26Chapter ISubchapter APart 1 → §1.481-1


Title 26: Internal Revenue
PART 1—INCOME TAXES (CONTINUED)


§1.481-1   Adjustments in general.

(a)(1) Section 481 prescribes the rules to be followed in computing taxable income in cases where the taxable income of the taxpayer is computed under a method of accounting different from that under which the taxable income was previously computed. A change in method of accounting to which section 481 applies includes a change in the over-all method of accounting for gross income or deductions, or a change in the treatment of a material item. For rules relating to changes in methods of accounting, see section 446(e) and paragraph (e) of §1.446-1. In computing taxable income for the taxable year of the change, there shall be taken into account those adjustments which are determined to be necessary solely by reason of such change in order to prevent amounts from being duplicated or omitted. The “year of the change” is the taxable year for which the taxable income of the taxpayer is computed under a method of accounting different from that used for the preceding taxable year.

(2) Unless the adjustments are attributable to a change in method of accounting initiated by the taxpayer, no part of the adjustments required by subparagraph (1) of this paragraph shall be based on amounts which were taken into account in computing income (or which should have been taken into account had the new method of accounting been used) for taxable years beginning before January 1, 1954, or ending before August 17, 1954 (hereinafter referred to as pre-1954 years).

(b) The adjustments specified in section 481(a) and this section shall take into account inventories, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and any other item determined to be necessary in order to prevent amounts from being duplicated or omitted.

(c)(1) The term “adjustments”, as used in section 481, has reference to the net amount of the adjustments required by section 481(a) and paragraph (b) of this section. In the case of a change in the over-all method of accounting, such as from the cash receipts and disbursements method to an accrual method, the term “net amount of the adjustments” means the consolidation of adjustments (whether the amounts thereof represent increases or decreases in items of income or deductions) arising with respect to balances in various accounts, such as inventory, accounts receivable, and accounts payable, at the beginning of the taxable year of the change in method of accounting. With respect to the portion of the adjustments attributable to pre-1954 years, it is immaterial that the same items or class of items with respect to which adjustments would have to be made (for the first taxable year to which section 481 applies) do not exist at the time the actual change in method of accounting occurs. For purposes of section 481, only the net dollar balance is to be taken into account. In the case of a change in the treatment of a single material item, the amount of the adjustment shall be determined with reference only to the net dollar balances in that particular account.

(2) If a change in method of accounting is voluntary (i.e., initiated by the taxpayer), the entire amount of the adjustments required by section 481(a) is generally taken into account in computing taxable income in the taxable year of the change, regardless of whether the adjustments increase or decrease taxable income. See, however, §§1.446-1(e)(3) and 1.481-4 which provide that the Commissioner may prescribe the taxable year or years in which the adjustments are taken into account.

(3) If the change in method of accounting is involuntary (i.e., not initiated by the taxpayer), then only the amount of the adjustments required by section 481(a) that is attributable to taxable years beginning after December 31, 1953, and ending after August 16, 1954, (hereinafter referred to as post-1953 years) is taken into account. This amount is generally taken into account in computing taxable income in the taxable year of the change, regardless of whether the adjustments increase or decrease taxable income. See, however, §§1.446-1(e)(3) and 1.481-4 which provide that the Commissioner may prescribe the taxable year or years in which the adjustments are taken into account. See also §1.481-3 for rules relating to adjustments attributable to pre-1954 years.

(4) For any adjustments attributable to post-1953 years that are taken into account entirely in the year of change and that increase taxable income by more than $3,000, the limitations on tax provided in section 481(b) (1) or (2) apply. See §1.481-2 for rules relating to the limitations on tax provided by sections 481(b) (1) and (2).

(5) A change in the method of accounting initiated by the taxpayer includes not only a change which he originates by securing the consent of the Commissioner, but also a change from one method of accounting to another made without the advance approval of the Commissioner. A change in the taxpayer's method of accounting required as a result of an examination of the taxpayer's income tax return will not be considered as initiated by the taxpayer. On the other hand, a taxpayer who, on his own initiative, changes his method of accounting in order to conform to the requirements of any Federal income tax regulation or ruling shall not, merely because of such fact, be considered to have made an involuntary change.

(d) Any adjustments required under section 481(a) that are taken into account during a taxable year must be properly taken into account for purposes of computing gross income, adjusted gross income, or taxable income in determining the amount of any item of gain, loss, deduction, or credit that depends on gross income, adjusted gross income, or taxable income.

[T.D. 6500, 25 FR 11731, Nov. 26, 1960, as amended by T.D. 8608, 60 FR 40078, Aug. 7, 1995]