U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Oct 27, 2020
(a) If a taxpayer makes an election under section 455 and § 1.455-6 with respect to a trade or business, all prepaid subscription income from such trade or business shall be included in gross income for the taxable years during which the liability exists to furnish or deliver a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical. Such election shall be applicable to all prepaid subscription income received in connection with the trade or business for which the election is made; except that the taxpayer may further elect to include in gross income for the taxable year of receipt (as described in section 455(d)(3) and paragraph (c) of § 1.455-5) 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, hereinafter sometimes referred to as “within 12 months” election.
(b) If the taxpayer is engaged in more than one trade or business in which a liability is incurred to furnish or deliver a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical, a separate election 455 with respect to each such trade or business. In addition, a taxpayer may make a separate “within 12 months” election for each separate trade or business for which it has made an election under section 455.
(c) An election made under section 455 shall be binding for the first taxable year for which the election is made and for all subsequent taxable years, unless the taxpayer secures the consent of the Commissioner to the revocation of such election. Thus, in any case where the taxpayer has elected a method prescribed by section 455 for the inclusion of prepaid subscription income in gross income, such method of reporting income may not be changed without the prior approval of the Commissioner. In order to secure the Commissioner's consent to the revocation of such election, an application must be filed with the Commissioner in accordance with section 446(e) and the regulations thereunder. For purposes of subtitle A of the Code, the computation of taxable income under an election made under section 455 shall be treated as a method of accounting. For adjustments required by changes in method of accounting, see section 481 and the regulations thereunder.
(d) An election made under section 455 shall not apply to any prepaid subscription income received before the first taxable year to which the election applies. For example, Corporation M, which computes its taxable income under an accrual method of accounting and files its income tax returns on the calendar year basis, publishes a monthly magazine and customarily sells subscriptions on a 3-year basis. In 1958 it received $135,000 of 3-year prepaid subscription income for subscriptions beginning during 1958, and in 1959 it received $142,000 of prepaid subscription income for subscriptions beginning after December 31, 1958. In February 1959 it elected, with the consent of the Commissioner, to report its prepaid subscription income under the provisions of section 455 for the year 1959 and subsequent taxable years. The $135,000 received in 1958 from prepaid subscriptions must be included in gross income in full in that year, and no part of such 1958 income shall be allocated to the years 1959, 1960, and 1961 during which M was under a liability to deliver its magazine. The $142,000 received in 1959 from prepaid subscriptions shall be allocated to the years 1959, 1960, 1961, and 1962.
(e) No election may be made under section 455 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. However, if the taxpayer is on a “combination” method of accounting under section 446(c)(4) and the regulations thereunder, it may elect the benefits of section 455 if it uses an accrual method of accounting for subscription income