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In accounting, a way for a company to reduce its tax liability by applying losses to future tax years in which the company makes a profit. That is, carryforward allows companies to apply losses to profits that have not yet occurred and thereby reduce the taxes they pay on those profits. Carryforward is limited to seven years. For example, suppose a company loses $500,000 in year one, then nets $1,000,000 in year five. The company may carry forward the losses and only be liable for taxes on $500,000 of its profit in year five.

Independent contractors who file Schedule C with the IRS are required to use carryforwards, which is useful since most independent contractors lose money in their first few years of business. Some publicly-traded companies opt not to use it, as appearing to reduce profits may scare off potential investors who do not realize that the profits upon which taxes are paid do not equal the company's actual profits.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved


1. A business operating loss that, for tax purposes, may be claimed a certain number of years in the future, often up to 15 years. Thus, a loss in one year would be carried forward to a future year and used to offset profits up to the amount of the carryforward. Carryforwards are especially useful to firms operating in cyclical industries such as transportation. Also called tax loss carryforward.
2. In taxation of individuals, net capital losses exceeding the annual limit of $3,000 that may be carried to succeeding years so as to offset capital gains or ordinary income. There is no limit on the amount of capital losses that may be used to offset capital gains in any one year, only on the amount of losses in excess of gains that may be used to offset income. Also called carryover.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
172, with certain exceptions, and limited the use of NOL carryforwards to 80% of federal taxable income, although the new carryforward period is indefinite.
Alternatively, a tax allocation agreement could allocate reimbursement based on which member generates the taxable income that allows the group to use the carryforward Under this method, the group would be treated as absorbing all of Subsidiary 1's Year 3 loss, because Subsidiary 1 generated 100% of the income that allowed the group to use the carryforward.
Total federal income tax paid (after taking into account the carryforward) is $84 in year 1 ($400 at 21%) and $4 in year 3 ($20 at 21%).
The company's ability to utilize NOL carryforwards would be substantially limited if an ownership change as defined under Section 382 were to occur.
The board said it considered a number of factors in establishing the term of the plan, including anticipated use of the net operating loss carryforwards, governance matters and efficiency.
Nevertheless, capital loss carryforwards can be important, too, especially if you're choosing between funds that are otherwise equally appealing.
current income tax (item #63) or total pretax income (item #170) works well in reducing misclassification errors associated with Compustat's reporting of an NOL carryforward balance (item #52) where no tax NOL exists.
a) Deductible temporary differences resulting from warranty accruals = $500 b) Net operating loss carryforward to expire in 15 years = 200 c) Tax credit carryforwards to expire in 15 years = 50
This situation could occur when future prospects are marginal or worse, and in foreign or state jurisdictions where carryback and carryforward periods are limited and future results are expected to be erratic.
As noted earlier, a knowledge of applicable federal and state allowable NOL carryback and carryforward periods is important because no tax benefit is available for an NOL after its prescribed carryover period expires.
The answers cover the operational rules, key definitions, information about covered entities, and an example of new special carryforward rules for partnerships.
With respect to audits including NOL amounts created in years that are closed under the statute of limitation, Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) Section instructs revenue agents that they may redetermine the correct taxable income for a closed year to determine either the amount of the carryforward deduction reported in the open year or the amount of an NOL deduction that is absorbed in a closed year and supports the determination of the available NOL deduction for the open year under examination.