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File free tax return 2. File free tax return   Accounting Methods Table of Contents Introduction Topics - This chapter discusses: Useful Items - You may want to see: Accounting MethodsCash Method Accrual Method Farm Inventory Cash Versus Accrual Method Special Methods of Accounting Combination Method Changes in Methods of Accounting Introduction You must use an accounting method that clearly shows your income and expenses. File free tax return You must also figure your taxable income and file an income tax return for an annual accounting period called a tax year. File free tax return This chapter discusses accounting methods. File free tax return For information on accounting periods, see Publication 538, Accounting Periods and Methods, and the Instructions for Form 1128, Application To Adopt, Change, or Retain a Tax Year. File free tax return Topics - This chapter discusses: Cash method Accrual method Farm inventory Special methods of accounting Changes in methods of accounting Useful Items - You may want to see: Publication 538 Accounting Periods and Methods 535 Business Expenses Form (and Instructions) 1128 Application To Adopt, Change, or Retain a Tax Year 3115 Application for Change in Accounting Method See chapter 16 for information about getting publications and forms. File free tax return Accounting Methods An accounting method is a set of rules used to determine when and how your income and expenses are reported on your tax return. File free tax return Your accounting method includes not only your overall method of accounting, but also the accounting treatment you use for any material item. File free tax return A material item is one that affects the proper time for inclusion of income or allowance of a deduction. File free tax return An item considered material for financial statement purposes is generally also considered material for income tax purposes. File free tax return See Publication 538 for more information. File free tax return You generally choose an accounting method for your farm business when you file your first income tax return that includes a Schedule F (Form 1040), Profit or Loss From Farming. File free tax return If you later want to change your accounting method, you generally must get IRS approval. File free tax return How to obtain IRS approval is discussed later under Changes in Methods of Accounting . File free tax return Types of accounting methods. File free tax return   Generally, you can use any of the following accounting methods. File free tax return Each method is discussed in detail below. File free tax return Cash method. File free tax return Accrual method. File free tax return Special methods of accounting for certain items of income and expenses. File free tax return Combination (hybrid) method using elements of two or more of the above. File free tax return Business and other items. File free tax return   You can account for business and personal items using different accounting methods. File free tax return For example, you can figure your business income under an accrual method, even if you use the cash method to figure personal items. File free tax return Two or more businesses. File free tax return   If you operate two or more separate and distinct businesses, you can use a different accounting method for each business. File free tax return Generally, no business is separate and distinct unless a complete and separate set of books and records is maintained for each business. File free tax return Cash Method Most farmers use the cash method because they find it easier to keep records using the cash method. File free tax return However, certain farm corporations and partnerships and all tax shelters must use an accrual method of accounting. File free tax return See Accrual Method Required , later. File free tax return Income Under the cash method, include in your gross income all items of income you actually or constructively received during the tax year. File free tax return Items of income include money received as well as property or services received. File free tax return If you receive property or services, you must include the fair market value (FMV) of the property or services in income. File free tax return See chapter 3 for information on how to report farm income on your income tax return. File free tax return Constructive receipt. File free tax return   Income is constructively received when an amount is credited to your account or made available to you without restriction. File free tax return You do not need to have possession of the income for it to be treated as income for the tax year. File free tax return If you authorize someone to be your agent and receive income for you, you are considered to have received the income when your agent receives it. File free tax return Income is not constructively received if your receipt of the income is subject to substantial restrictions or limitations. File free tax return Direct payments and counter-cyclical payments. File free tax return   If you received direct payments or counter-cyclical payments under Subtitle A or C of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, you will not be considered to have constructively received a payment merely because you had the option to receive it in the year before it is required to be paid. File free tax return Delaying receipt of income. File free tax return   You cannot hold checks or postpone taking possession of similar property from one tax year to another to avoid paying tax on the income. File free tax return You must report the income in the year the money or property is received or made available to you without restriction. File free tax return Example. File free tax return Frances Jones, a farmer, was entitled to receive a $10,000 payment on a grain contract in December 2013. File free tax return She was told in December that her payment was available. File free tax return She requested not to be paid until January 2014. File free tax return However, she must still include this payment in her 2013 income because it was made available to her in 2013. File free tax return Debts paid by another person or canceled. File free tax return   If your debts are paid by another person or are canceled by your creditors, you may have to report part or all of this debt relief as income. File free tax return If you receive income in this way, you constructively receive the income when the debt is canceled or paid. File free tax return See Cancellation of Debt in chapter 3. File free tax return Deferred payment contract. File free tax return   If you sell an item under a deferred payment contract that calls for payment in a future year, there is no constructive receipt in the year of sale. File free tax return However, if the sales contract states that you have the right to the proceeds of the sale from the buyer at any time after delivery of the item, then you must include the sales price in income in the year of the sale, regardless of when you actually receive payment. File free tax return Example. File free tax return You are a farmer who uses the cash method and a calendar tax year. File free tax return You sell grain in December 2013 under a bona fide arm's-length contract that calls for payment in 2014. File free tax return You include the proceeds from the sale in your 2014 gross income since that is the year payment is received. File free tax return However, if the contract states that you have the right to the proceeds from the buyer at any time after the grain is delivered, you must include the sales price in your 2013 income, regardless of when you actually receive payment. File free tax return Repayment of income. File free tax return   If you include an amount in income and in a later year you have to repay all or part of it, then you can usually deduct the repayment in the year repaid. File free tax return If the repayment is more than $3,000, a special rule applies. File free tax return For details, see Repayments in chapter 11 of Publication 535, Business Expenses. File free tax return Expenses Under the cash method, generally you deduct expenses in the tax year you pay them. File free tax return This includes business expenses for which you contest liability. File free tax return However, you may not be able to deduct an expense paid in advance or you may be required to capitalize certain costs, as explained under Uniform Capitalization Rules in chapter 6. File free tax return See chapter 4 for information on how to deduct farm business expenses on your income tax return. File free tax return Prepayment. File free tax return   Generally, you cannot deduct expenses paid in advance. File free tax return This rule applies to any expense paid far enough in advance to, in effect, create an asset with a useful life extending substantially beyond the end of the current tax year. File free tax return Example. File free tax return On November 1, 2013, you signed and paid $3,600 for a 3-year (36-month) insurance contract for equipment. File free tax return In 2013, you are allowed to deduct only $200 (2/36 x $3,600) of the cost of the policy that is attributable to 2013. File free tax return In 2014, you'll be able to deduct $1,200 (12/36 x $3,600); in 2015, you'll be able to deduct $1,200 (12/36 x $3,600); and in 2016 you'll be able to deduct the remaining balance of $1,000. File free tax return An exception applies if the expense qualifies for the 12-month rule. File free tax return See Publication 538 for more information and examples. File free tax return See chapter 4 for special rules for prepaid farm supplies and prepaid livestock feed. File free tax return Accrual Method Under an accrual method of accounting, you generally report income in the year earned and deduct or capitalize expenses in the year incurred. File free tax return The purpose of an accrual method of accounting is to correctly match income and expenses. File free tax return Certain businesses engaged in farming must use an accrual method of accounting for its farm business and for sales and purchases of inventory items. File free tax return See Accrual Method Required and Farm Inventory , later. File free tax return Income Generally, you include an amount in income for the tax year in which all events that fix your right to receive the income have occurred, and you can determine the amount with reasonable accuracy. File free tax return Under this rule, include an amount in income on the earliest of the following dates. File free tax return When you receive payment. File free tax return When the income amount is due to you. File free tax return When you earn the income. File free tax return When title passes. File free tax return If you use an accrual method of accounting, complete Part III of Schedule F (Form 1040) to report your income. File free tax return Inventory. File free tax return   If you keep an inventory, generally you must use an accrual method of accounting to determine your gross income. File free tax return An inventory is necessary to clearly show income when the production, purchase, or sale of merchandise is an income-producing factor. File free tax return See Publication 538 for more information. File free tax return Also see Farm Inventory , later, for more information on items that must be included in inventory by farmers and inventory valuation methods for farmers. File free tax return Expenses Under an accrual method of accounting, you generally deduct or capitalize a business expense when both of the following apply. File free tax return The all-events test has been met. File free tax return This test is met when: All events have occurred that fix the fact that you have a liability, and The amount of the liability can be determined with reasonable accuracy. File free tax return Economic performance has occurred. File free tax return Economic performance. File free tax return   Generally, you cannot deduct or capitalize a business expense until economic performance occurs. File free tax return If your expense is for property or services provided to you, or for your use of property, economic performance occurs as the property or services are provided or as the property is used. File free tax return If your expense is for property or services you provide to others, economic performance occurs as you provide the property or services. File free tax return Example. File free tax return Jane, who is a farmer, uses a calendar tax year and an accrual method of accounting. File free tax return She entered into a contract with ABC Farm Consulting in 2012. File free tax return The contract stated that Jane pay ABC Farm Consulting $2,000 in December 2012. File free tax return It further stipulates that ABC Farm Consulting will develop a plan for integrating her farm with a larger farm operation based in a neighboring state by March 1, 2013. File free tax return Jane paid ABC Farm Consulting $2,000 in December 2012. File free tax return Integration of operations according to the plan began in May 2013 and they completed the integration in December 2013. File free tax return Economic performance for Jane's liability in the contract occurs as the services are provided. File free tax return Jane incurs the $2,000 cost in 2013. File free tax return An exception to the economic performance rule allows certain recurring items to be treated as incurred during a tax year even though economic performance has not occurred. File free tax return For more information, see Economic Performance in Publication 538. File free tax return Special rule for related persons. File free tax return   Business expenses and interest owed to a related person who uses the cash method of accounting are not deductible until you make the payment and the corresponding amount is includible in the related person's gross income. File free tax return Determine the relationship for this rule as of the end of the tax year for which the expense or interest would otherwise be deductible. File free tax return For more information, see Internal Revenue Code section 267. File free tax return Accrual Method Required Generally, the following businesses, if engaged in farming, must use an accrual method of accounting. File free tax return A corporation (other than a family corporation) that had gross receipts of more than $1,000,000 for any tax year beginning after 1975. File free tax return A family corporation that had gross receipts of more than $25,000,000 for any tax year beginning after 1985. File free tax return A partnership with a corporation as a partner, if that corporation meets the requirements of (1) or (2) above. File free tax return A tax shelter. File free tax return Note. File free tax return Items (1), (2), and (3) above do not apply to an S corporation or a business operating a nursery or sod farm, or the raising or harvesting of trees (other than fruit and nut trees). File free tax return Family corporation. File free tax return   A family corporation is generally a corporation that meets one of the following ownership requirements. File free tax return Members of the same family own at least 50% of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock entitled to vote and at least 50% of the total shares of all other classes of stock of the corporation. File free tax return Members of two families have owned, directly or indirectly, since October 4, 1976, at least 65% of the total combined voting power of all classes of voting stock and at least 65% of the total shares of all other classes of the corporation's stock. File free tax return Members of three families have owned, directly or indirectly, since October 4, 1976, at least 50% of the total combined voting power of all classes of voting stock and at least 50% of the total shares of all other classes of the corporation's stock. File free tax return For more information on family corporations, see Internal Revenue Code section 447. File free tax return Tax shelter. File free tax return   A tax shelter is a partnership, noncorporate enterprise, or S corporation that meets either of the following tests. File free tax return Its principal purpose is the avoidance or evasion of federal income tax. File free tax return It is a farming syndicate. File free tax return A farming syndicate is an entity that meets either of the following tests. File free tax return Interests in the activity have been offered for sale in an offering required to be registered with a federal or state agency with the authority to regulate the offering of securities for sale. File free tax return More than 35% of the losses during the tax year are allocable to limited partners or limited entrepreneurs. File free tax return   A “limited partner” is one whose personal liability for partnership debts is limited to the money or other property the partner contributed or is required to contribute to the partnership. File free tax return   A “limited entrepreneur” is one who has an interest in an enterprise other than as a limited partner and does not actively participate in the management of the enterprise. File free tax return Farm Inventory If you are required to keep an inventory, you should keep a complete record of your inventory as part of your farm records. File free tax return This record should show the actual count or measurement of the inventory. File free tax return It should also show all factors that enter into its valuation, including quality and weight, if applicable. File free tax return Hatchery business. File free tax return   If you are in the hatchery business, and use an accrual method of accounting, you must include in inventory eggs in the process of incubation. File free tax return Products held for sale. File free tax return   All harvested and purchased farm products held for sale or for feed or seed, such as grain, hay, silage, concentrates, cotton, tobacco, etc. File free tax return , must be included in inventory. File free tax return Supplies. File free tax return   Supplies acquired for sale or that become a physical part of items held for sale must be included in inventory. File free tax return Deduct the cost of supplies in the year used or consumed in operations. File free tax return Do not include incidental supplies in inventory as these are deductible in the year of purchase. File free tax return Livestock. File free tax return   Livestock held primarily for sale must be included in inventory. File free tax return Livestock held for draft, breeding, or dairy purposes can either be depreciated or included in inventory. File free tax return See also Unit-livestock-price method , later. File free tax return If you are in the business of breeding and raising chinchillas, mink, foxes, or other fur-bearing animals, these animals are livestock for inventory purposes. File free tax return Growing crops. File free tax return   Generally, growing crops are not required to be included in inventory. File free tax return However, if the crop has a preproductive period of more than 2 years, you may have to capitalize (or include in inventory) costs associated with the crop. File free tax return See Uniform capitalization rules below. File free tax return Also see Uniform Capitalization Rules in  chapter 6. File free tax return Items to include in inventory. File free tax return   Your inventory should include all items held for sale, or for use as feed, seed, etc. File free tax return , whether raised or purchased, that are unsold at the end of the year. File free tax return Uniform capitalization rules. File free tax return   The following applies if you are required to use an accrual method of accounting. File free tax return The uniform capitalization rules apply to all costs of raising a plant, even if the preproductive period of raising a plant is 2 years or less. File free tax return The costs of animals are subject to the uniform capitalization rules. File free tax return Inventory valuation methods. File free tax return   The following methods, described below, are those generally available for valuing inventory. File free tax return The method you use must conform to generally accepted accounting principles for similar businesses and must clearly reflect income. File free tax return Cost. File free tax return Lower of cost or market. File free tax return Farm-price method. File free tax return Unit-livestock-price method. File free tax return Cost and lower of cost or market methods. File free tax return   See Publication 538 for information on these valuation methods. File free tax return If you value your livestock inventory at cost or the lower of cost or market, you do not need IRS approval to change to the unit-livestock-price method. File free tax return However, if you value your livestock inventory using the farm-price method, then you must obtain permission from the IRS to change to the unit-livestock-price method. File free tax return Farm-price method. File free tax return   Under this method, each item, whether raised or purchased, is valued at its market price less the direct cost of disposition. File free tax return Market price is the current price at the nearest market in the quantities you usually sell. File free tax return Cost of disposition includes broker's commissions, freight, hauling to market, and other marketing costs. File free tax return If you use this method, you must use it for your entire inventory, except that livestock can be inventoried under the unit-livestock-price method. File free tax return Unit-livestock-price method. File free tax return   This method recognizes the difficulty of establishing the exact costs of producing and raising each animal. File free tax return You group or classify livestock according to type and age and use a standard unit price for each animal within a class or group. File free tax return The unit price you assign should reasonably approximate the normal costs incurred in producing the animals in such classes. File free tax return Unit prices and classifications are subject to approval by the IRS on examination of your return. File free tax return You must annually reevaluate your unit livestock prices and adjust the prices upward or downward to reflect increases or decreases in the costs of raising livestock. File free tax return IRS approval is not required for these adjustments. File free tax return Any other changes in unit prices or classifications do require IRS approval. File free tax return   If you use this method, include all raised livestock in inventory, regardless of whether they are held for sale or for draft, breeding, sport, or dairy purposes. File free tax return This method accounts only for the increase in cost of raising an animal to maturity. File free tax return It does not provide for any decrease in the animal's market value after it reaches maturity. File free tax return Also, if you raise cattle, you are not required to inventory hay you grow to feed your herd. File free tax return   Do not include sold or lost animals in the year-end inventory. File free tax return If your records do not show which animals were sold or lost, treat the first animals acquired as sold or lost. File free tax return The animals on hand at the end of the year are considered those most recently acquired. File free tax return   You must include in inventory all livestock purchased primarily for sale. File free tax return You can choose either to include in inventory or depreciate livestock purchased for draft, breeding, sport or dairy purposes. File free tax return However, you must be consistent from year to year, regardless of the method you have chosen. File free tax return You cannot change your method without obtaining approval from the IRS. File free tax return   You must include in inventory animals purchased after maturity or capitalize them at their purchase price. File free tax return If the animals are not mature at purchase, increase the cost at the end of each tax year according to the established unit price. File free tax return However, in the year of purchase, do not increase the cost of any animal purchased during the last 6 months of the year. File free tax return This “no increase” rule does not apply to tax shelters which must make an adjustment for any animal purchased during the year. File free tax return It also does not apply to taxpayers that must make an adjustment to reasonably reflect the particular period in the year in which animals are purchased, if necessary to avoid significant distortions in income. File free tax return Uniform capitalization rules. File free tax return   A farmer can determine costs required to be allocated under the uniform capitalization rules by using the farm-price or unit-livestock-price inventory method. File free tax return This applies to any plant or animal, even if the farmer does not hold or treat the plant or animal as inventory property. File free tax return Cash Versus Accrual Method The following examples compare the cash and accrual methods of accounting. File free tax return Example 1. File free tax return You are a farmer who uses an accrual method of accounting. File free tax return You keep your books on the calendar year basis. File free tax return You sell grain in December 2013 but you are not paid until January 2014. File free tax return Because the accrual method was used and 2013 was the tax year in which the grain was sold, you must both include the sales proceeds and deduct the costs incurred in producing the grain on your 2013 tax return. File free tax return Example 2. File free tax return Assume the same facts as in Example 1 except that you use the cash method and there was no constructive receipt of the sales proceeds in 2013. File free tax return Under this method, you include the sales proceeds in income for 2014, the year you receive payment. File free tax return Deduct the costs of producing the grain in the year you pay for them. File free tax return Special Methods of Accounting There are special methods of accounting for certain items of income and expense. File free tax return Crop method. File free tax return   If you do not harvest and dispose of your crop in the same tax year that you plant it, you can, with IRS approval, use the crop method of accounting. File free tax return You cannot use the crop method for any tax return, including your first tax return, unless you receive approval from the IRS. File free tax return Under this method, you deduct the entire cost of producing the crop, including the expense of seed or young plants, in the year you realize income from the crop. File free tax return    See chapter 4 for details on deducting the costs of operating a farm. File free tax return Also see Regulations section 1. File free tax return 162-12. File free tax return Other special methods. File free tax return   Other special methods of accounting apply to the following items. File free tax return Amortization, see chapter 7. File free tax return Casualties, see chapter 11. File free tax return Condemnations, see chapter 11. File free tax return Depletion, see chapter 7. File free tax return Depreciation, see chapter 7. File free tax return Farm business expenses, see chapter 4. File free tax return Farm income, see chapter 3. File free tax return Installment sales, see chapter 10. File free tax return Soil and water conservation expenses, see chapter 5. File free tax return Thefts, see chapter 11. File free tax return Combination Method Generally, you can use any combination of cash, accrual, and special methods of accounting if the combination clearly shows your income and expenses and you use it consistently. File free tax return However, the following restrictions apply. File free tax return If you use the cash method for figuring your income, you must use the cash method for reporting your expenses. File free tax return If you use an accrual method for reporting your expenses, you must use an accrual method for figuring your income. File free tax return Changes in Methods of Accounting A change in your method of accounting includes a change in: Your overall method, such as from the cash method to an accrual method, and Your treatment of any material item, such as a change in your method of valuing inventory (for example, a change from the farm-price method to the unit-livestock-price method, discussed earlier). File free tax return Generally, once you have set up your accounting method, you must receive approval from the IRS before you can change to another method of accounting. File free tax return You may also have to pay a fee. File free tax return To obtain approval, you must generally file Form 3115. File free tax return There are instances when you can obtain automatic consent to change certain methods of accounting. File free tax return See the List of Automatic Accounting Method Changes located in the Instructions for Form 3115. File free tax return For more information on changes in methods of accounting, see Form 3115 and the Instructions for Form 3115. File free tax return Also see Publication 538. File free tax return Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications
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