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Title 26: Internal Revenue
§1.472-1 Last-in, first-out inventories.
(a) Any taxpayer permitted or required to take inventories pursuant to the provisions of section 471, and pursuant to the provisions of §§1.471-1 to 1.471-9, inclusive, may elect with respect to those goods specified in his application and properly subject to inventory to compute his opening and closing inventories in accordance with the method provided by section 472, this section, and §1.472-2. Under this last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory method, the taxpayer is permitted to treat those goods remaining on hand at the close of the taxable year as being:
(1) Those included in the opening inventory of the taxable year, in the order of acquisition and to the extent thereof, and
(2) Those acquired during the taxable year.
The LIFO inventory method is not dependent upon the character of the business in which the taxpayer is engaged, or upon the identity or want of identity through commingling of any of the goods on hand, and may be adopted by the taxpayer as of the close of any taxable year.
(b) If the LIFO inventory method is used by a taxpayer who regularly and consistently, in a manner similar to hedging on a futures market, matches purchases with sales, then firm purchases and sales contracts (i.e., those not legally subject to cancellation by either party) entered into at fixed prices on or before the date of the inventory may be included in purchases or sales, as the case may be, for the purpose of determining the cost of goods sold and the resulting profit or loss, provided that this practice is regularly and consistently adhered to by the taxpayer and provided that, in the opinion of the Commissioner, income is clearly reflected thereby.
(c) A manufacturer or processor who has adopted the LIFO inventory method as to a class of goods may elect to have such method apply to the raw materials only (including those included in goods in process and in finished goods) expressed in terms of appropriate units. If such method is adopted, the adjustments are confined to costs of the raw material in the inventory and the cost of the raw material in goods in process and in finished goods produced by such manufacturer or processor and reflected in the inventory. The provisions of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following examples:
Example 1. Assume that the opening inventory had 10 units of raw material, 10 units of goods in process, and 10 units of finished goods, and that the raw material cost was 6 cents a unit, the processing cost 2 cents a unit, and overhead cost 1 cent a unit. For the purposes of this example, it is assumed that the entire amount of goods in process was 50 percent processed.
In the closing inventory there are 20 units of raw material, 6 units of goods in process, and 8 units of finished goods and the costs were: Raw material 10 cents, processing cost 4 cents, and overhead 1 cent.
[Based on cost and prior to adjustment]
There were 30 units of raw material in the opening inventory and 34 units in the closing inventory. The adjustment to the closing inventory would be as follows:
Closing Inventory as Adjusted
1This excess is subject to determination of price under section 472(b)(1) and §1.472-2. If the excess falls in goods in process, the same adjustment is applicable.
The only adjustment to the closing inventory is the cost of the raw material; the processing costs and overhead cost are not changed.Example 2. Assume that the opening inventory had 5 units of raw material, 10 units of goods in process, and 20 units of finished goods, with the same prices as in Example 1, and that the closing inventory had 20 units of raw material, 20 units of goods in process, and 10 units of finished goods, with raw material costs as in the closing inventory in Example 1. The adjusted closing inventory would be as follows in so far as the raw material is concerned:
1This excess is subject to determination of price under section 472(b)(1) and §1.472-2.
The 20 units of raw material in the raw state plus 15 units of raw material in goods in process make up the 35 units of raw material that were contained in the opening inventory.
(d) For the purposes of this section, raw material in the opening inventory must be compared with similar raw material in the closing inventory. There may be several types of raw materials, depending upon the character, quality, or price, and each type of raw material in the opening inventory must be compared with a similar type in the closing inventory.
(e) In the cotton textile industry there may be different raw materials depending upon marked differences in length of staple, in color or grade of the cotton. But where different staple lengths or grades of cotton are being used at different times in the same mill to produce the same class of goods, such differences would not necessarily require the classification into different raw materials.
(f) As to the pork packing industry a live hog is considered as being composed of various raw materials, different cuts of a hog varying markedly in price and use. Generally a hog is processed into approximately 10 primal cuts and several miscellaneous articles. However, due to similarity in price and use, these may be grouped into fewer classifications, each group being classed as one raw material.
(g) When the finished product contains two or more different raw materials as in the case of cotton and rayon mixtures, each raw material is treated separately and adjustments made accordingly.
(h) Upon written notice addressed to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Attention T:R, Washington, D.C. 20224 by the taxpayer, a taxpayer who has heretofore adopted the LIFO inventory method in respect of any goods may adopt the method authorized in this section and limit the election to the raw material including raw materials entering into goods in process and in finished goods. If this method is adopted as to any specific goods, it must be used exclusively for such goods for any prior taxable year (not closed by agreement) to which the prior election applies and for all subsequent taxable years, unless permission to change is granted by the Commissioner.
(i) The election may also be limited to that phase in the manufacturing process where a product is produced that is recognized generally as a salable product as, for example, in the textile industry where one phase of the process is the production of yarn. Since yarn is generally recognized as a salable product, the election may be limited to that portion of the process when yarn is produced. In the case of copper and brass processors, the election may be limited to the production of bars, plates, sheets, etc., although these may be further processed into other products.
(j) The election may also apply to any one raw material, when two or more raw materials enter into the composition of the finished product; for example, in the case of cotton and rayon yarn, the taxpayer may elect to inventory the cotton only. However, a taxpayer who has previously made an election to use the LIFO inventory method may not later elect to exclude any raw materials that were covered by such previous election.
(k) If a taxpayer using the retail method of pricing inventories, authorized by §1.471-8, elects to use in connection therewith the LIFO inventory method authorized by section 472 and this section, the apparent cost of the goods on hand at the end of the year, determined pursuant to §1.471-8, shall be adjusted to the extent of price changes therein taking place after the close of the preceding taxable year. The amount of any apparent inventory increase or decrease to be eliminated in this adjustment shall be determined by reference to acceptable price indexes established to the satisfaction of the Commissioner. Price indexes prepared by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics which are applicable to the goods in question will be considered acceptable to the Commissioner. Price indexes which are based upon inadequate records, or which are not subject to complete and detailed audit within the Internal Revenue Service, will not be approved.
(l) If a taxpayer uses consistently the so-called “dollar-value” method of pricing inventories, or any other method of computation established to the satisfaction of the Commissioner as reasonably adaptable to the purpose and intent of section 472 and this section, and if such taxpayer elects under section 472 to use the LIFO inventory method authorized by such section, the taxpayer's opening and closing inventories shall be determined under section 472 by the use of the appropriate adaptation. See §1.472-8 for rules relating to the use of the dollar-value method.
[T.D. 6500, 25 FR 11727, Nov. 26, 1960, as amended by T.D. 6539, 26 FR 518, Jan. 20, 1961]