U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Oct 27, 2020

§ 1.472-2 - Requirements incident to adoption and use of LIFO inventory method.

Except as otherwise provided in § 1.472-1 with respect to raw material computations, with respect to retail inventory computations, and with respect to other methods of computation established to the satisfaction of the Commissioner as reasonably adapted to the purpose and intent of section 472, and in § 1.472-8 with respect to the “dollar-value” method, the adoption and use of the LIFO inventory method is subject to the following requirements:

(a) The taxpayer shall file an application to use such method specifying with particularity the goods to which it is to be applied.

(b) The inventory shall be taken at cost regardless of market value.

(c) Goods of the specified type included in the opening inventory of the taxable year for which the method is first used shall be considered as having been acquired at the same time and at a unit cost equal to the actual cost of the aggregate divided by the number of units on hand. The actual cost of the aggregate shall be determined pursuant to the inventory method employed by the taxpayer under the regulations applicable to the prior taxable year with the exception that restoration shall be made with respect to any writedown to market values resulting from the pricing of former inventories.

(d) Goods of the specified type on hand as of the close of the taxable year in excess of what were on hand as of the beginning of the taxable year shall be included in the closing inventory, regardless of identification with specific invoices and regardless of specific cost accounting records, at costs determined pursuant to the provisions of subparagraph (1) or (2) of this paragraph, dependent upon the character of the transactions in which the taxpayer is engaged:

(1)(i) In the case of a taxpayer engaged in the purchase and sale of merchandise, such as a retail grocer or druggist, or engaged in the initial production of merchandise and its sale without processing, such as a miner selling his ore output without smelting or refining, such costs shall be determined -

(a) By reference to the actual cost of the goods most recently purchased or produced;

(b) By reference to the actual cost of the goods purchased or produced during the taxable year in the order of acquisition;

(c) By application of an average unit cost equal to the aggregate cost of all of the goods purchased or produced throughout the taxable year divided by the total number of units so purchased or produced, the goods reflected in such inventory increase being considered for the purposes of section 472 as having been acquired all at the same time; or

(d) Pursuant to any other proper method which, in the opinion of the Commissioner, clearly reflects income.

(ii) Whichever of the several methods of valuing the inventory increase is adopted by the taxpayer and approved by the Commissioner shall be consistently adhered to in all subsequent taxable years so long as the LIFO inventory method is used by the taxpayer.

(iii) The application of subdivisions (i) and (ii) of this subparagraph may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.Suppose that the taxpayer adopts the LIFO inventory method for the taxable year 1957 with an opening inventory of 10 units at 10 cents per unit, that it makes 1957 purchases of 10 units as follows:
January1 at$0.11=$0.11
April2 at.12=.24
July3 at.13=.39
October4 at.14=.56
Totals10 1.30
and that it has a 1957 closing inventory of 15 units. This closing inventory, depending upon the taxpayer's method of valuing inventory increases, will be computed as follows: (a) Most recent purchases -
10 at$0.10$1.00
October4 at.14.56
July1 at.13.13
Totals15 1.69
(b) In order of acquisitions -
10 at$0.10$1.00
January1 at.11.11
April2 at.12.24
July2 at.13.26
Totals15 1.61
or (c) At an annual average -
10 at$0.10$1.00
(130/10)5 at.13.65
Totals15 1.65
Example 2.Suppose that the taxpayer's closing inventory for 1958, the year following that involved in Example 1 of this subdivision, reflects an inventory decrease for the year, and not an increase; suppose that there is, accordingly, a 1958 closing inventory of 13 units. Inasmuch as the decreased closing inventory will be determined wholly by reference to the 15 units reflected in the opening inventory for the year, and will be taken “in the order of acquisition” pursuant to section 472 (b) (1), and inasmuch as the character of the taxpayer's opening inventory for 1958 will be dependent upon its method of valuing its 5-unit inventory increase for 1957, the closing inventory for 1958 will be computed as follows:

(a) In case the increase for 1957 was taken by reference to the most recent purchases -

From 195610 at$0.10$1.00
July 19571 at.13.13
October 19572 at.14.28
Totals13 1.41
or (b) In case the increase for 1957 was taken in the order of acquisition -
From 195610 at$0.10$1.00
January 195751 at.11.11
April 19572 at.12.24
Totals13 1.35
or (c) In case the increase for 1957 was taken on the basis of an average -
From 195610 at$0.10$1.00
From 19573 at.13.39
Totals13 1.39

(2) In the case of a taxpayer engaged in manufacturing, fabricating, processing, or otherwise producing merchandise, such costs shall be determined:

(i) In the case of raw materials purchased or initially produced by the taxpayer, in the manner elected by the taxpayer under subparagraph (1) of this paragraph to the same extent as if the taxpayer were engaged in purchase and sale transactions; and

(ii) In the case of goods in process, regardless of the stage to which the manufacture, fabricating, or processing may have advanced, and in the case of finished goods, pursuant to any proper method which, in the opinion of the Commissioner, clearly reflects income.

(e) LIFO conformity requirement - (1) In general. The taxpayer must establish to the satisfaction of the Commissioner that the taxpayer, in ascertaining the income, profit, or loss for the taxable year for which the LIFO inventory method is first used, or for any subsequent taxable year, for credit purposes or for purposes of reports to shareholders, partners, or other proprietors, or to beneficiaries, has not used any inventory method other than that referred to in § 1.472-1 or at variance with the requirement referred to in § 1.472-2(c). See paragraph (e)(2) of this section for rules relating to the meaning of the term “taxable year” as used in this paragraph. The following are not considered at variance with the requirement of this paragraph:

(i) The taxpayer's use of an inventory method other than LIFO for purposes of ascertaining information reported as a supplement to or explanation of the taxpayer's primary presentation of the taxpayer's income, profit, or loss for a taxable year in credit statements or financial reports (including preliminary and unaudited financial reports). See paragraph (e)(3) of this section for rules relating to the reporting of supplemental and explanatory information ascertained by the use of an inventory method other than LIFO.

(ii) The taxpayer's use of an inventory method other than LIFO to ascertain the value of the taxpayer's inventory of goods on hand for purposes of reporting the value of such inventories as assets. See paragraph (e)(4) of this section for rules relating to such disclosures.

(iii) The taxpayer's use of an inventory method other than LIFO for purposes of ascertaining information reported in internal management reports. See paragraph (e)(5) of this section for rules relating to such reports.

(iv) The taxpayer's use of an inventory method other than LIFO for purposes of issuing reports or credit statements covering a period of operations that is less than the whole of a taxable year for which the LIFO method is used for Federal income tax purposes. See paragraph (e)(6) of this section for rules relating to series of interim reports.

(v) The taxpayer's use of the lower of LIFO cost or market method to value LIFO inventories for purposes of financial reports and credit statements. However, except as provided in paragraph (e)(7) of this section, a taxpayer may not use market value in lieu of cost to value inventories for purposes of financial reports or credit statements.

(vi) The taxpayer's use of a costing method or accounting method to ascertain income, profit, or loss for credit purposes or for purposes of financial reports if such costing method or accounting method is neither inconsistent with the inventory method referred to in § 1.472-1 nor at variance with the requirement referred to in § 1.472-2(c), regardless of whether such costing method or accounting method is used by the taxpayer for Federal income tax purposes. See paragraph (e)(8) of this section for examples of such costing methods and accounting methods.

(vii) For credit purposes or for purposes of financial reports, the taxpayer's treatment of inventories, after such inventories have been acquired in a transaction to which section 351 applies from a transferor that used the LIFO method with respect to such inventories, as if such inventories had the same acquisition dates and costs as in the hands of the transferor.

(viii) For credit purposes or for purposes of financial reports relating to a taxable year, the taxpayer's determination of income, profit, or loss for the taxable year by valuing inventories in accordance with the procedures described in section 472(b) (1) and (3), notwithstanding that such valuation differs from the valuation of inventories for Federal income tax purposes because the taxpayer either -

(A) Adopted such procedures for credit or financial reporting purposes beginning with an accounting period other than the taxable year for which the LIFO method was first used by the taxpayer for Federal income tax purposes, or

(B) With respect to such inventories treated a business combination for credit or financial reporting purposes in a manner different from the treatment of the business combination for Federal income tax purposes.

(2) One-year periods other than a taxable year. The rules of this paragraph relating to the determination of income, profit, or loss for a taxable year and credit statements or financial reports that cover a taxable year also apply to the determination of income, profit, or loss for a one-year period other than a taxable year and credit statements or financial reports that cover a one-year period other than a taxable year, but only if the one-year period both begins and ends in a taxable year or years for which the taxpayer uses the LIFO method for Federal income tax purposes. For example, the requirements of paragraph (e)(1) of this section apply to a taxpayer's determination of income for purposes of a credit statement that covers a 52-week fiscal year beginning and ending in a taxable year for which the taxpayer uses the LIFO method for Federal income tax purposes. Similarly, in the case of a calendar year taxpayer, the requirements of paragraph (e)(1) of this section apply to the taxpayer's determination of income for purposes of a credit statement that covers the period October 1, 1981, through September 30, 1982, if the taxpayer uses the LIFO method for Federal income tax purposes in taxable years 1981 and 1982. However, the Commissioner will waive any violation of the requirements of this paragraph in the case of a credit statement or financial report that covers a one-year period other than a taxable year if the report was issued before January 22, 1981.

(3) Supplemental and explanatory information - (i) Face of the income statement. Information reported on the face of a taxpayer's financial income statement for a taxable year is not considered a supplement to or explanation of the taxpayer's primary presentation of the taxpayer's income, profit, or loss for the taxable year in credit statements or financial reports. For purposes of paragraph (e)(3) of this section, the face of an income statement does not include notes to the income statement presented on the same page as the income statement, but only if all notes to the financial income statement are presented together.

(ii) Notes to the income statement. Information reported in notes to a taxpayer's financial income statement is considered a supplement to or explanation of the taxpayer's primary presentation of income, profit, or loss for the period covered by the income statement if all notes to the financial income statement are presented together and if they accompany the income statement in a single report. If notes to an income statement are issued in a report that does not include the income statement, the question of whether the information reported therein is supplemental or explanatory is determined under the rules in paragraph (e)(3)(iv) of this section.

(iii) Appendices and supplements to the income statement. Information reported in an appendix or supplement to a taxpayer's financial income statement is considered a supplement to or explanation of the taxpayer's primary presentation of income, profit, or loss for the period covered by the income statement if the appendix or supplement accompanies the income statement in a single report and the information reported in the appendix or supplement is clearly identified as a supplement to or explanation of the taxpayer's primary presentation of income, profit, or loss as reported on the face of the taxpayer's income statement. If an appendix or supplement to an income statement is issued in a report that does not include the income statement, the question of whether the information reported therein is supplemental or explanatory is determined under the rules in paragraph (e)(3)(iv) of this section. For purposes of paragraph (e)(3)(iii) of this section, an appendix or supplement to an income statement includes written statements, schedules, and reports that are labelled supplements or appendices to the income statement. However, sections of an annual report such as those labelled “President's Letter”, “Management's Analysis”, “Statement of Changes in Financial Position”, “Summary of Key Figures”, and similar sections are reports described in paragraph (e)(3)(iv) of this section and are not considered “supplements or appendices to an income statement” within the meaning of paragraph (e)(3)(iii) of this section, regardless of whether such sections are also labelled as supplements or appendices. For purposes of paragraph (e)(3)(iii) of this section, information is considered to be clearly identified as a supplement to or explanation of the taxpayer's primary presentation of income, profit, or loss as reported on the face of the taxpayer's income statement if the information either -

(A) Is reported in an appendix or supplement that contains a general statement identifying all such supplemental or explanatory information;

(B) Is identified specifically as supplemental or explanatory by a statement immediately preceding or following the disclosure of the information;

(C) Is disclosed in the context of making a comparison to corresponding information disclosed both on the face of the taxpayer's income statement and in the supplement or appendix; or

(D) Is a disclosure of the effect on an item reported on the face of the taxpayer's income statement of having used the LIFO method.

For example, a restatement of cost of goods sold based on an inventory method other than LIFO is considered to be clearly identified as supplemental or explanatory information if the supplement or appendix containing the restatement contains a general statement that all information based on such inventory method is reported in the appendix or supplement as a supplement to or explanation of the taxpayer's primary presentation of income, profit, or loss as reported on the face of the taxpayer's income statement.

(iv) Other reports; in general. The rules of paragraph (e)(3) (iv), (v), and (vi) of this section apply to the following types of reports: news releases; letters to shareholders, partners, or other proprietors or beneficiaries; oral statements at press conferences, shareholders' meetings or securities analysts' meetings; sections of an annual report such as those labelled “President's Letter”, “Management's Analysis”, “Statement of Changes in Financial Position”, “Summary of Key Figures”, and similar sections; and reports other than a taxpayer's income statement or accompanying notes, appendices, or supplements. Information disclosed in such a report is considered a supplement to or explanation of the taxpayer's primary presentation of income, profit, or loss for the period covered by an income statement if the supplemental or explanatory information is clearly identified as a supplement to or explanation of the taxpayer's primary presentation of income, profit, or loss as reported on the face of the taxpayer's income statement and the specific item of information being explained or supplemented, such as the cost of goods sold, net income, or earnings per share ascertained using the LIFO method, is also reported in the other report.

(v) Other reports; disclosure of non-LIFO income. For purposes of paragraph (e)(3)(iv) of this section, supplemental or explanatory information is considered to have been clearly identified as such if it would be considered to have been clearly identified as such under the rules of paragraph (e)(3)(iii) of this section, relating to information reported in supplements or appendices to an income statement. For example, if at a securities analysts' meeting the following question is asked, “What would the reported earnings per share for the year have been if the FIFO method had been used to value inventories?”, it would be permissible to respond “Reported earnings per share for the year were $6.00. If the company had used the FIFO method to value inventories this year and had computed earnings based upon the following assumptions, earnings per share would have been $8.20. FIFO earnings are based on the following assumptions:

“(A) The use of the same effective tax rate as used in computing LIFO earnings, and

“(B) All other conditions and assumptions remain the same, including -

“(1) The use of the LIFO method for Federal income tax purposes and

“(2) The investment of the tax savings resulting from such use of the LIFO method, the income from which is included in both LIFO and FIFO “earnings.” ”

(vi) Other reports; disclosure of effect on income. For purposes of paragraph (e)(3)(iv) of this section, if the only supplement to or explanation of a specific item is the effect on the item of having used LIFO instead of a method other than LIFO to value inventories, it is not necessary to also report the specific item. For example, if at a shareholders' meeting the question is asked, “What was the effect on reported earnings per share of not having used FIFO to value inventories?”, it would be permissible to respond “If earnings would have been computed on the basis of the following assumptions, the use of LIFO instead of FIFO to value inventories would have decreased reported earnings per share by $2.20. FIFO earnings are based on the following assumptions:

“(A) The use of the same effective tax rate as used in computing LIFO earnings, and

“(B) All other conditions and assumptions remain the same, including -

“(1) The use of the LIFO method for Federal income tax purposes and

“(2) The investment of the tax savings resulting from such use of the LIFO method, the income from which is included in both LIFO and FIFO earnings.”

(4) Inventory asset value disclosures. Under paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section, the use of an inventory method other than LIFO to ascertain the value of the taxpayer's inventories for purposes of reporting the value of the inventories as assets is not considered the ascertainment of income, profit, or loss and therefore is not considered at variance with the requirement of paragraph (e)(1) of this section. Therefore, a taxpayer may disclose the value of inventories on a balance sheet using a method other than LIFO to identify the inventories, and such a disclosure will not be considered at variance with the requirement of paragraph (e)(1) of this section. However, the disclosure of income, profit, or loss for a taxable year on a balance sheet issued to creditors, shareholders, partners, other proprietors, or beneficiaries is considered at variance with the requirement of paragraph (e)(1) of this section if such income information is ascertained using an inventory method other than LIFO and such income information is for a taxable year for which the LIFO method is used for Federal income tax purposes. Therefore, a balance sheet that discloses the net worth of a taxpayer, determined as if income had been ascertained using an inventory method other than LIFO, may be at variance with the requirement of paragraph (e)(1) of this section if the disclosure of net worth is made in a manner that also discloses income, profit, or loss for a taxable year.

However, a disclosure of income, profit, or loss using an inventory method other than LIFO is not considered at variance with the requirement of paragraph (e)(1) of this section if the disclosure is made in the form of either a footnote to the balance sheet or a parenthetical disclosure on the face of the balance sheet. In addition, an income disclosure is not considered at variance with the requirement of paragraph (e)(1) of this section if the disclosure is made on the face of a supplemental balance sheet labelled as a supplement to the taxpayer's primary presentation of financial position, but only if, consistent with the rules of paragraph (e)(3) of this section, such a disclosure is clearly identified as a supplement to or explanation of the taxpayer's primary presentation of financial income as reported on the face of the taxpayer's income statement.

(5) Internal management reports. [Reserved]

(6) Series of interim reports. For purposes of paragraph (e)(1)(iv) of this section, a series of credit statements or financial reports is considered a single statement or report covering a period of operations if the statements or reports in the series are prepared using a single inventory method and can be combined to disclose the income, profit, or loss for the period. However, the Commissioner will waive any violation of the requirement of this paragraph in the case of a series of interim reports issued before February 6, 1978, that cover a taxable year, or a series of interim reports issued before January 22, 1981 that cover a one-year period other than a taxable year.

(7) Market value. The Commissioner will waive any violation of the requirement of this paragraph in the case of a taxpayer's use of market value in lieu of cost for a credit statement or financial report issued before January 22, 1981. However, the special rule of this (7) applies only to a taxpayer's use of market value in lieu of cost and does not apply to the use of a method of valuation such as market value in lieu of cost but not more than FIFO cost.

(8) Use of different methods. The following are examples of costing methods and accounting methods that are neither inconsistent with the inventory method referred to in § 1.472-1 nor at variance with the requirement of § 1.472-2(c) and which, under paragraph (e)(1)(vi) of this section, may be used to ascertain income, profit, or loss for credit purposes or for purposes of financial reports regardless of whether such method is also used by the taxpayer for Federal income tax purposes:

(i) Any method relating to the determination of which costs are includible in the computation of the cost of inventory under the full absorption inventory method.

(ii) Any method of establishing pools for inventory under the dollar-value LIFO inventory method.

(iii) Any method of determining the LIFO value of a dollar-value inventory pool, such as the double-extension method, the index method, and the link chain method.

(iv) Any method of determining or selecting a price index to be used with the index or link chain method of valuing inventory pools under the dollar-value LIFO inventory method.

(v) Any method permitted under § 1.472-8 for determining the current-year cost of closing inventory for purposes of using the dollar-value LIFO inventory method.

(vi) Any method permitted under § 1.472-2(d) for determining the cost of goods in excess of goods on hand at the beginning of the year for purposes of using a LIFO method other than the dollar-value LIFO method.

(vii) Any method relating to the classification of an item as inventory or a capital asset.

(viii) The use of an accounting period other than the period used for Federal income tax purposes.

(ix) The use of cost estimates.

(x) The use of actual cost of cut timber or the cost determined under section 631(a).

(xi) The use of inventory costs unreduced by any adjustment required by the application of section 108 and section 1017, relating to discharge of indebtedness.

(xii) The determination of the time when sales or purchases are accrued.

(xiii) The use of a method to allocate basis in the case of a business combination other than the method used for Federal income tax purposes.

(xiv) The treatment of transfers of inventory between affiliated corporations in a manner different from that required by § 1.1502-13.

(9) Reconciliation of LIFO inventory values. A taxpayer may be required to reconcile differences between the value of inventories maintained for credit or financial reporting purposes and for Federal income tax purposes in order to show that the taxpayer has satisfied the requirements of this paragraph.

(f) Goods of the specified type on hand as of the close of the taxable year preceding the taxable year for which this inventory method is first used shall be included in the taxpayer's closing inventory for such preceding taxable year at cost determined in the manner prescribed in paragraph (c) of this section.

(g) The LIFO inventory method, once adopted by the taxpayer with the approval of the Commissioner, shall be adhered to in all subsequent taxable years unless -

(1) A change to a different method is approved by the Commissioner; or

(2) The Commissioner determines that the taxpayer, in ascertaining income, profit, or loss for the whole of any taxable year subsequent to his adoption of the LIFO inventory method, for credit purposes or for the purpose of reports to shareholders, partners, or other proprietors, or to beneficiaries, has used any inventory method at variance with that referred to in § 1.472-1 and requires of the taxpayer a change to a different method for such subsequent taxable year or any taxable year thereafter.

(h) The records and accounts employed by the taxpayer in keeping his books shall be maintained in conformity with the inventory method referred to in § 1.472-1; and such supplemental and detailed inventory records shall be maintained as will enable the district director readily to verify the taxpayer's inventory computations as well as his compliance with the requirements of section 472 and §§ 1.472-1 through 1.472-7.

(i) Where the taxpayer is engaged in more than one trade or business, the Commissioner may require that if the LIFO method of valuing inventories is used with respect to goods in one trade or business the same method shall also be used with respect to similar goods in the other trades or businesses if, in the opinion of the Commissioner, the use of such method with respect to such other goods is essential to a clear reflection of income.

[T.D. 6500, 25 FR 11728, Nov. 26, 1960, as amended by T.D. 6539, 26 FR 518, Jan. 20, 1961; T.D. 7756, 46 FR 6920, Jan. 22, 1981; T.D. 7756, 46 FR 15685, Mar. 9, 1981]