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George Hani Discusses Reasoning for Changes to Section 174 in Tax Notes

"Deleted Research Expense Ruling Seen as Part of Pre-TCJA Trend"

Tax Notes

George Hani discussed the reasoning behind the recent changes to section 174, which made obsolete the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changes to section 174 which eliminated the ability to deduct research and experimentation (R&E) expenses – instead, making taxpayers capitalize and amortize these costs. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said in Rev. Rul. 2023-8, 2023-18 IRB 1, that the new ruling wasn't released because the section 174 changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act recently took effect, but the regulatory effort to meet taxpayers' guidance needs for the new provision probably drew the agency's attention to the issue, Hani said. Rev. Rul. 2023-8, released April 12, declared Rev. Rul. 58-74, 1958-1 C.B. 148, obsolete. Rev. Rul. 58-74 suggested that taxpayers fix an incorrect application of section 174 research expensing not by changing their methods of accounting on later tax returns but by amending prior tax returns. Hani attributed the delay to the IRS's policy choice of eliminating Rev. Rul. 58-74. Taxpayers may have been relying on the ruling while working on amended tax returns and may want to increase their scrutiny of original returns after it's gone, so the delay makes sense, he said.