How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Merlo Your Own Question
Merlo, Accountant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 9783
Experience:  25+ years tax consulting. Specializing in returns for US citizens living abroad
Type Your Tax Question Here...
Merlo is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

how many years can u show a loss on a buisness

Customer Question

how many years can u show a loss on a buisness
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Merlo replied 8 years ago.
Hello jason,

If a business reports a net profit in at least 3 out of 5 years, it is presumed to be a for-profit business. If a business reports a net loss in more than 2 out of 5 years, it is presumed to be a not-for-profit hobby. At that point, the IRS will likely discontinue your deductions for a business loss unless you can prove that you truly have a profit motive using the following nine factors:

1. You carry on the activity in a businesslike manner,
2. The time and effort you put into the activity indicate you intend to make it profitable,
3. You depend on income from the activity for your livelihood,
4. Your losses are due to circumstances beyond your control (or are normal in the start-up phase of your type of business),
5. You change your methods of operation in an attempt to improve profitability,
6. You, or your advisors, have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business,
7. You were successful in making a profit in similar activities in the past,
8. The activity makes a profit in some years, and how much profit it makes, and
9. You can expect to make a future profit from the appreciation of the assets used in the activity.

If you can prove to the IRS that at least some of these factors apply, then they may allow you to continue taking losses without applying the 3 out of 5 year rule.

If this was helpful please press the Accept button. Positive feedback is also appreciated.

Thank you.