skip navigation

Search Help
Navigation Help


Main Topics
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z #


FAQs
Forms
Publications
Tax Topics


Comments
About Tax Map
IRS Tax Map 2008
Current IRS Tax Map

taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177297
Publication 536

 
Net Operating Losses (NOLs) for 
Individuals, Estates, and Trusts


rule
spacer


What's New(p1)


spacer

taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000243514

Carryback of 2008 or 2009 net operating losses (NOLs).(p1)

You can elect to carry back either a 2008 or 2009 NOL, but not both, for a period of 3, 4, or 5 years. If you make this election by filing a statement with your income tax return for the tax year of the NOL, you must also attach a copy of the statement to any Form 1045 or Form 1040X on which you deduct the NOL. If you previously elected to waive the entire NOL carryback period for an NOL arising in a tax year ending before November 6, 2009, you can revoke that election if you elect to carry the NOL back 3, 4, or 5 tax years. For more information, see Special Rules for 2008 or 2009 NOLs. See also Rev. Proc. 2009-52, 2009-49 I.R.B. 744.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000243450

Carryback of 2008 NOLs for eligible small businesses (ESBs).(p1)

If you made an election to carry back a 2008 NOL that was attributable to an ESB for a period of 3, 4, or 5 years under Rev. Proc. 2009-26, 2009-19 I.R.B. 935, you can now elect to carry back, under the rules described above, any remaining 2008 or 2009 NOL that was not subject to the election under Rev. Proc. 2009-26.
For more information, see Special Rules for 2008 or 2009 NOLs, on page 8.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000245903

Alternative Tax Net Operating Loss(p1)

The 90 percent limit on the alternative tax net operating loss deduction does not apply to the portion of the ATNOLD attributable to any 2008 or 2009 NOL you elect to carry back more than 2 years.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000245904

Qualified Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone loss.(p2)

Beginning in 2009, the portion of any NOL attributable to a qualified GO Zone loss is now limited to the amount of any qualified GO Zone casualty loss and any special GO Zone depreciation or amortization allowable for any specified GO Zone extension property placed in service during the tax year.

Reminder(p2)


spacer

taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177310

Photographs of missing children.(p2)

The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#TXMP197d974fIntroduction

If your deductions for the year are more than your income for the year, you may have a net operating loss (NOL). An NOL year is the year in which an NOL occurs. You can use an NOL by deducting it from your income in another year or years.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177311

What this publication covers.(p2)


rule
spacer

This publication discusses NOLs for individuals, estates, and trusts. It covers:
To have an NOL, your loss must generally be caused by deductions from your:
A loss from operating a business is the most common reason for an NOL.
Partnerships and S corporations generally cannot use an NOL. However, partners or shareholders can use their separate shares of the partnership's or S corporation's business income and business deductions to figure their individual NOLs.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177312

Keeping records.(p2)


rule
spacer

You should keep records for any tax year that generates an NOL for 3 years after you have used the carryback/carryforward or 3 years after the carryforward expires.
Deposit
You should attach all required documents to the Form 1045 or Form 1040X. For details, see the instructions for Form 1045 or Form 1040X.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177313

What is not covered in this publication?(p2)


rule
spacer

The following topics are not covered in this publication.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000201655

Section references.(p2)


rule
spacer

Section references are to the Internal Revenue Code unless otherwise noted.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177314

Comments and suggestions.(p2)


rule
spacer

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can write to us at the following address:

 
Internal Revenue Service 
Individual Forms and Publications Branch 
SE:W:CAR:MP:T:I 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526 
Washington, DC 20224


We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.
You can email us at *taxforms@irs.gov. (The asterisk must be included in the address.) Please put "Publications Comment" on the subject line. Although we cannot respond individually to each email, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177315

Ordering forms and publications.(p2)
spacer

Visit www.irs.gov/formspubs to download forms and publications, call 1-800-829-3676, or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

 
Internal Revenue Service 
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway 
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613


taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177316

Tax questions.(p2)
spacer

If you have a tax question, check the information available on www.irs.gov or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.

taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#TXMP010e2680

Useful items

You may want to see:


Publication
 4492 Information for Taxpayers Affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma
 4492-A Information for Taxpayers Affected by the May 4, 2007, Kansas Storms and Tornadoes
 4492-B Information for Affected Taxpayers in the Midwestern Disaster Areas
Form (and Instructions)
 1040X: Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
 1045: Application for Tentative Refund
 
See How To Get Tax Help near the end of this publication for information about getting these publications and forms.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177318

NOL Steps(p2)


rule
spacer

previous topic occurrence Net Operating Loss next topic occurrence

Follow Steps 1 through 5 to figure and use your NOL.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177319

Step 1.(p2)


rule
spacer

Complete your tax return for the year. You may have an NOL if a negative figure appears on the line below:
If the amount on that line is not negative, stop here — you do not have an NOL.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177320

Step 2.(p2)


rule
spacer

Determine whether you have an NOL and its amount. See How To Figure an NOL, later. If you do not have an NOL, stop here.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177322

Step 3.(p2)


rule
spacer

Decide whether to carry the NOL back to a past year or to waive the carryback period and instead carry the NOL forward to a future year. See When To Use an NOL, later.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177324

Step 4.(p2)


rule
spacer

Deduct the NOL in the carryback or carryforward year. See How To Claim an NOL Deduction, later. If your NOL deduction is equal to or less than your taxable income without the deduction, stop here — you have used up your NOL.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177326

Step 5.(p2)


rule
spacer

Determine the amount of your unused NOL. See How To Figure an NOL Carryover, later. Carry over the unused NOL to the next carryback or carryforward year and begin again at Step 4.
taxmap/pubs/p536-000.htm#en_us_publink1000177328

Note.(p2)


rule
spacer

If your NOL deduction includes more than one NOL amount, apply Step 5 separately to each NOL amount, starting with the amount from the earliest year.