What if, say, you sell a book for $5 because you don't knowSure, when you apply it to situations the code explicitly
states that no income is recognized (when you have an asset
and do not sell or otherwise transfer ownership).
it was worth $500? You "could have had" the $500, but you
didn't get it.
Or a consultant with a client who always pays promptly on
receipt of bill, who is on a cash basis, chooses to send his
bill for November's work on December 28, so he receives
payment on January 4. He could have sent the bill December
7 and received payment on December 14.