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Related to Carryback: Carryback loan
See Loss carryback.
In accounting, a way for a company to reduce its tax liability by applying a net operating loss to previous years in which it made a profit. If a company deducts more than its net income in a given tax year, it may take the difference between the deduction and the net income (a negative number) and apply it as a deduction on taxable income for the previous five years. For example, if a company makes $1,000,000 in one year, and loses $500,000 the following year, it may only be liable for a $500,000 profit on the year it makes a profit. That is, it may receive a tax refund on part of what it paid for the profitable year. See also: Future Income Tax.
A business operating loss that, for tax purposes, may be deducted for a certain number of prior years, usually no more than three. A business uses a carryback to recover taxes paid on income earned in prior years. For example, if a firm experiences a year of large losses following a period of profitable operations, it may use the losses to cancel out profits from preceding years on which taxes have been paid. When the taxes a company paid on profits are canceled because of a carryback, the firm is issued a refund by the Internal Revenue Service. Also called carryover, tax loss carryback.