IRS Treasury Regulations

(a) *In general.* A taxpayer that is a retail merchant may use the retail inventory method of accounting described in this section. The retail inventory method uses a formula to convert the retail selling price of ending inventory to an approximation of cost (retail cost method) or an approximation of lower of cost or market (retail LCM method). A taxpayer may use the retail inventory method instead of valuing inventory at cost under § 1.471-3 or lower of cost or market under § 1.471-4.

(b) *Computation* – (1) *In general.* A taxpayer computes the value of ending inventory under the retail inventory method by multiplying a cost complement by the retail selling prices of the goods on hand at the end of the taxable year.

(2) *Cost complement* – (i) *In general.* The cost complement is a ratio computed as follows:

(A) The numerator is the value of beginning inventory plus the cost (as determined under § 1.471-3, except as otherwise provided in this section) of goods purchased during the taxable year.

(B) The denominator is the retail selling prices of beginning inventory plus the retail selling prices of goods purchased during the year (that is, the bona fide retail selling prices of the items at the time acquired), adjusted for all permanent markups and markdowns, including markup and markdown cancellations and corrections. The denominator is not adjusted for temporary markups or markdowns.

(ii) *Vendor allowances required to reduce only cost of goods sold.* A taxpayer may not reduce the numerator of the cost complement by the amount of an allowance, discount, or price rebate that is required under § 1.471-3(e) to reduce only cost of goods sold.

(3) *Additional rules for cost complement for retail LCM method* – (i) *In general* – (A) *Margin protection payments.* A taxpayer using the retail LCM method may not reduce the numerator of the cost complement by the amount of an allowance, discount, or price rebate that is related to or intended to compensate for a permanent reduction in the taxpayer’s retail selling price of inventory (a margin protection payment).

(B) *Markdowns.* A taxpayer using the retail LCM method does not adjust the denominator of the cost complement for markdowns (and markdown cancellations or corrections). Markups must be reduced by the markdowns made to cancel or correct them.

(ii) *Alternative methods for computing cost complement* – (A) *In general.* In lieu of the method described in paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section, a taxpayer using the retail LCM method may compute the cost complement using one of the alternative methods described in this paragraph (b)(3)(ii). A taxpayer using an alternative method under this paragraph (b)(3)(ii) must use that method for all cost complements.

(B) *Adjust numerator and denominator.* A taxpayer using the retail LCM method may reduce the numerator of the cost complement by the amount of all margin protection payments if the taxpayer also reduces the denominator of the cost complement by the amount of the permanent reduction in retail selling price to which the margin protection payments relate (related markdowns).

(C) *Deemed adjustment to denominator.* A taxpayer using the retail LCM method that is able to determine the amount of all margin protection payments but cannot determine the amount of the related markdowns may reduce the numerator of the cost complement by the amount of all margin protection payments if the taxpayer also reduces the denominator by the amount that, in conjunction with the reduction of the numerator for the margin protection payments, maintains what would have been the cost complement percentage before taking into account the margin protection payment and the related markdown. A taxpayer that can determine the amount of a related markdown but not the associated margin protection payments may not use this method to compute an adjustment to the numerator.

(iii) *Statistical sampling.* A taxpayer using the retail LCM method may use statistical sampling in accordance with Rev. Proc. 2011-42 or any successor (see § 601.601(d) of this chapter), in conjunction with any method of computing the cost complement described in this paragraph (b)(3), to determine the amount of margin protection payments and related markdowns. A taxpayer using statistical sampling must use it for all margin protection payments and related markdowns associated with the inventory items valued by a particular cost complement, but is not required to use it for every cost complement.

(4) *Ending inventory retail selling prices.* A taxpayer must include all permanent markups and markdowns but may not include temporary markups or markdowns in determining the retail selling prices of goods on hand at the end of the taxable year. A taxpayer may not include a markdown that is not an actual reduction of retail selling price.

(c) *Special rules for LIFO taxpayers.* A taxpayer using the last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory method with the retail inventory method uses the retail cost method. See § 1.472-1(k) for additional adjustments for a taxpayer using the LIFO inventory method with the retail cost method.

(d) *Scope of retail inventory method.* A taxpayer may use the retail inventory method to value ending inventory for a department, a class of goods, or a stock-keeping unit. A taxpayer maintaining more than one department or dealing in classes of goods with different percentages of gross profit must compute cost complements separately for each department or class of goods.

(e) *Examples.* The following examples illustrate the rules of this section:

Example 1.(i) R, a retail merchant who uses the retail LCM method and uses a calendar taxable year, has no beginning inventory in 2012. R purchases 40 tables during 2012 for $60 each for a total of $2,400. R offers the tables for sale at $100 each for an aggregate retail selling price of $4,000. R does not sell any tables at a price of $100, so R permanently marks down the retail selling price of its tables to $90 each. As a result of the $10 markdown, R’s supplier provides R a $6 per table margin protection payment. R sells 25 tables during 2012 and has 15 tables in ending inventory at the end of 2012.(ii) Under paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) of this section, the numerator of the cost complement is the aggregate cost of the tables, $2,400. Under paragraph (b)(3)(i)(A) of this section, R may not reduce the numerator of the cost complement by the amount of the margin protection payment. Under paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B) of this section, the denominator of the cost complement is the aggregate of the bona fide retail selling prices of all the tables at the time acquired, $4,000. Under paragraph (b)(3)(i)(B) of this section, R does not adjust the denominator of the cost complement for the markdown. Therefore, R’s cost complement is $2,400/$4,000, or 60%.

(iii) Under paragraph (b)(4) of this section, R includes the permanent markdown in determining year-end retail selling prices. Therefore, the aggregate retail selling price of R’s ending table inventory is $1,350 (15 * $90). Approximating LCM under the retail method, the value of R’s ending table inventory is $810 (60% * $1,350).

Example 2.(i) The facts are the same as in *Example 1,* except that R permanently reduces the retail selling price of all 40 tables to $50 per unit and the 15 tables on hand at the end of the year are marked for sale at that price. The additional $40 markdown is unrelated to a margin protection payment or other allowance.(ii) Under paragraph (b)(3)(i)(B) of this section, R does not adjust the denominator of the cost complement for the markdown. Therefore, R’s cost complement is $2,400/$4,000, or 60%.

(iii) Under paragraph (b)(4) of this section, R includes the permanent markdowns in determining year-end retail selling prices. Therefore, the aggregate retail selling price of R’s ending inventory is $750 (15 * $50). Approximating LCM under the retail method, the value of R’s ending inventory is $450 (60% * $750).

Example 3.(i) The facts are the same as in *Example 1,* except that R computes the cost complement using the alternative method under paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(B) of this section.(ii) R reduces the numerator of the cost complement by the margin protection payments of $240 ($6 * 40) and reduces the denominator of the cost complement by the related markdowns of $400 ($10 * 40). Therefore, R’s cost complement is $2,160/$3,600, or 60%.

(iii) Under paragraph (b)(4) of this section, R includes the permanent markdown in determining year-end retail selling prices. Therefore, the aggregate retail selling price of R’s ending table inventory is $1,350 (15 * $90). Approximating LCM under the retail method, the value of R’s ending table inventory is $810 (60% * $1,350).

Example 4.(i) The facts are the same as in *Example 1,* except that R cannot determine the amount of its related markdowns and computes the cost complement using the alternative method under paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(C) of this section.(ii) R reduces the numerator of the cost complement by the margin protection payments of $240 ($6 * 40). R reduces the denominator of the cost complement by the amount that, in conjunction with the reduction in the numerator, maintains the cost complement percentage before taking into account the margin protection payments and the related markdowns. R’s original cost complement was 60% ($2,400/$4,000). The numerator of R’s new cost complement is $2,160 ($2,400−$240). Therefore, R reduces the denominator by $400, which maintains the cost complement of 60% ($2,160/$3,600).

(iii) Under paragraph (b)(4) of this section, R includes the permanent markdowns in determining year-end retail selling prices. Therefore, the aggregate retail selling price of R’s ending table inventory is $1,350 (15 * $90). Approximating LCM under the retail method, the value of R’s ending table inventory is $810 (60% * $1,350).

Example 5.(i) The facts are the same as in *Example 1,* except that R uses the LIFO inventory method. R must value inventories at cost and, under paragraph (c) of this section, uses the retail cost method.(ii) Under paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) of this section, R reduces the numerator of the cost complement by the amount of the margin protection payment. Under paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B) of this section, R includes the permanent markdown in the denominator of the cost complement. Therefore, R’s cost complement is $2,160/$3,600, or 60%.

(iii) Under paragraph (b)(4) of this section, R includes the permanent markdown in determining year-end retail selling prices. Therefore, the aggregate retail selling price of R’s ending inventory is $1,350 (15 * $90). Approximating cost under the retail method, the value of R’s ending inventory is $810 (60% * $1,350).

(f) *Effective/applicability date.* This section applies to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2014. For taxable years beginning before January 1, 2015, see § 1.471-8 as contained in 26 CFR part 1, revised April 1, 2014.

[T.D. 9688, 79 FR 48036, Aug. 15, 2014]