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  • Writer's pictureHoyt, Filippetti & Malaghan, LLC

IRS Releases Revised Procedural Guidance for Section 174 R&E Costs



On December 22, 2023, the IRS released Rev. Proc. 2024-09 containing new and revised procedural guidance concerning specified research and experimental (SRE) expenditures under IRC Section 174.  We will release a more comprehensive analysis of the procedural guidance in the new year.  In the interim, we have included a few key takeaways below.

  • New designated accounting method change number (DCN) for changes to comply with Notice 2023-63 The guidance creates a new DCN 270 for changes to comply with Notice 2023-63 (except for section 8 concerning the interaction with Section 460, discussed below).  DCN 265 remains available for changes to comply with Section 174, generally.

  • Year 2 accounting method changes following a prior five-year change for the same item will now generally qualify for automatic consent  Under this revised guidance, taxpayers may file an accounting method change for their first and second taxable years beginning after December 31, 2021, even if that taxpayer filed an accounting method change for the same item in any of the prior five years.  Under previous guidance, the five-year restriction was only waived for a taxpayer’s first taxable year beginning after December 31, 2021.

  • Accounting method changes for Section 174 made in year 2 or later must be made via a Form 3115 as opposed to a Statement in Lieu attachment The IRS did not choose to extend simplified procedures for making these changes for years after a taxpayer’s first taxable year beginning after December 31, 2021.

  • Audit protection is now available for year 2 changes if the taxpayer made or attempted to make a Section 174 method change in year 1 Prior procedural guidance denied audit protection to changes filed in a taxpayer’s second taxable year beginning after December 31, 2021.  Rev. Proc. 2024-09 refines this restriction to only apply to taxpayers that did not make or attempt to make a Section 174 method change in their first taxable year beginning after December 31, 2021.

  • Automatic consent, 481(a) adjustment, and denominator clarity for taxpayers with R&E allocable to contracts accounted for under the percentage of completion method Rev. Proc 2024-09 creates a new automatic change (DCN 271) to allow taxpayers to conform to section 8 of Notice 2023-63, which concerns the treatment of SRE expenditures under the percentage of completion method.  For changes made in year 2 or after, the guidance also allows for a Section 481(a) adjustment, which is somewhat surprising as nearly all other Section 460 accounting method changes are made on a cut-off basis.

The IRS also released Notice 2024-12, which clarifies and modifies certain sections of Notice 2023-63 pertaining to the treatment of costs in a contract research arrangement and the ability of taxpayers to rely on the rules of Notice 2023-63 for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2021. Additional details regarding Notice 2024-12 will be provided in the forthcoming analysis to be released in the new year.


If you have questions, contact HFM today. Our professionals are well versed on the latest issues to provide our clients with professional, personalized services.

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