Proposed Regulations Address Small Business Simplified Accounting Rules
Proposed regulations adopt the post-2017 simplified accounting rules for small businesses.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( P.L. 115-97) put in place a single $25 million gross receipts test (adjusted annually for inflation after 2018) for determining whether certain taxpayers can use the cash method of accounting, are not required to use inventories, are not required to apply the uniform capitalization (UNICAP) rules, and are not required to use the percentage of completion method for a small construction contract.
The proposed regulations address a variety of issues. For example, they address application of the gross receipts test to taxpayers that are not corporations or partnerships. The gross receipts test is applied by taking into account the amount of gross receipts derived from all of the taxpayer’s trades or businesses. Under the proposed regulations, amounts not related to a taxpayer’s trade or business—items such as Social Security benefits, personal injury awards and settlements, disability benefits, and wages received as an employee reported on Form W-2—are generally excluded from gross receipts. Similar rules are provided for each of the exemptions.
Other issues addressed in the proposed regulations include rules:
- implementing the Code Sec. 263A(i) small business taxpayer exemption for purposes of the requirement to capitalize interest;
- permitting farmers who had been using a farming exception to the Code Sec. 263A rules to adopt the small business exception, and vice versa;
- permitting a taxpayer to elect to use the allocated taxable income or loss of the immediately preceding tax year to determine whether the taxpayer is a syndicate for purposes of Code Sec. 448(d)(3) for the current tax year;
- requiring a taxpayer that meets the gross receipts test in the current tax year to obtain IRS written consent before changing to the cash method if the taxpayer had previously changed its overall method from the cash method during any of the five tax years ending with the current tax year;
- applying the look-back method to redetermine the taxpayer’s modified taxable income under Reg. §1.59-3(b) and the taxpayer’s base erosion minimum tax amount (BEMTA) for the tax year; and
- clarifying the treatment under Code Sec. 471(c) for small business taxpayers with and without applicable financial statements.
The regulations are proposed to apply for tax years beginning on or after the date the Treasury Decision adopting these proposed regulations as final is published in the Federal Register. However, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, a taxpayer may rely on the proposed regulations, provided that the taxpayer follows all the applicable rules contained in the proposed regulations for each Code provision that the taxpayer chooses to apply.