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jgordosea, Enrolled Agent
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 3161
Experience:  I've prepared all types of taxes since 1987.
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I do not understand the nol carryforward rules. I am looking

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I do not understand the nol carryforward rules. I am looking for a solution to 2012 taxes that I owe in the amount of $10,000. I was informed that the NOL in past years could help me. In 2008 I had a ninety thousand $ loss in my business. A breakdown of my tax returns from 08-12. Year 2008: AGI -44,095. Breakdown, 58,400. wages, -90,425 business loss, -12,070. rental loss, Schedule A deduction 16,626. Year 2009: AGI 85,379. Breakdown, 81,200 Wages, 1,203 State Refund, -6,908 Business Loss, 20,832 IRA Dist, -10,948 Rent Loss, Schedule A deduction 12,833. Year 2010: AGI 51,353. Breakdown, 56,550 Wages, 433 State Refund, -10,327 Business Loss, 881 Cap Gain, 1,812 Form 4797, -10,981, 12,985 Unemployment. Year 2011 AGI 27,052. Breakdown, 43,300 Wages, 643 State Refund, -9,968 Business Loss, 37 Form 4797, -8,951 Rental Loss, 12,620 Schedule A Deduction. Year 2012 AGI 63,389. Breakdown, 17,900 Wages, 884 State Refund, 60,128 Business Income, -15,524 Rental Loss, Schedule A Deduction,
18,681. I understand there is a 2yr, 3yr and 5yr rule. Is there the possibility that I can carry the business losses forward from 2008 and if so, how? Thank you for your time.



Is there the possibility that I can carry the business losses forward from 2008 and if so, how?

Sorry but that loss in 2008 can not possibly carry forward to 2012.


The different rules for 2,3 or 5 years are the rules about how many years back (not forward) the loss will be carried. For more information on those rules see


For going forward, the loss can only be applied year by year in order.

That is, a 2008 loss (after the proper carry back) is first applied to 2009, then if any is left the balance is carried to 2010, then if any is left that remainder is carried to 2011 and so on until the loss is all used up (for up to twenty years).



"If you waive the carryback period or do not use up the NOL in the carryback period, carry forward what remains of the NOL to the 20 tax years following the NOL year. Start by carrying it to the first tax year after the NOL year. If you do not use it up, carry the unused part to the next year. Continue to carry any unused part of the NOL forward until the NOL is used up or you complete the 20-year carryforward period. "


When a net operating loss (NOL) is carried forward or back, the loss amount is used to reduce your adjusted gross income for the year it is carried to. Basically, the concept is that only when the loss carried into the year is more than the adjusted gross income in that year to which it is carried to will there still be more loss to be carried forward to another year.


For example, if I had a NOL in 2008 of -50,000 (and I chose not to carry it back but only carry it forward) then there would be 50,000 total to be used in future years.

If my income was 60,000 in 2009 before my 50,000 NOL is carried forward then my 2009 income would be 10,000 (60K - 50K )and there is no more NOL to carry forward.

Or if my income in 2009 was only 20,000 and there was 20,000 used of my 50,000 NOL then 30,000 (50K-20K) would be left to carry to 2010. In 2010 if my income is more than 30,000 there would be none left to go to 2011 or if my 2010 income was less than the loss coming into the year there would be some to carry forward.


I know you are looking for some relief from the balance due for 2012, but as you see your loss in 2008 would be all used in years prior to 2012 to reduce income in those years so none is left that can be used in 2012 since it has to be applied in order and can not skip into 2012.


Please ask if you need more discussion or clarification. Sorry this may not be the answer you were looking for in your difficult situation.

Thank you.






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