Eligible Losses qualify for longer carry-back periods. The carry-back period for an Eligible Loss is 3 years. An Eligible Loss is any part of an NOL that:
1. Is from a casualty or theft, or
2. Is attributable to a Presidentially declared disaster for a qualified small business
Note: An eligible loss does not include a farming loss.
Farming Losses qualify for longer carry-back periods. The carry-back period for a Farming Loss is 5 years. A Farming Loss is the smaller of:
1. The amount which would be the NOL for the tax year if only income and deductions attributable to farming businesses were taken into account, or
2. The NOL for the tax year
You can choose to treat a farming loss as if it were not a farming loss. If you make this choice, the loss is subject to the 2-year carry-back period.
Refigure your deductions, credits, and tax for each of the years to which you carried back an NOL. If your refigured tax is less than the tax you originally paid, you can apply for a refund by filing Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (PDF), for each year affected, or by filing Form 1045 (PDF). You will usually get a refund faster by filing Form 1045, and generally you can use one Form 1045 to apply an NOL to all carry-back years.
Generally, you carry an NOL back to the two tax years before the NOL year and deduct it from income you had in those years.
You can choose not to carry back an NOL and only carry it forward. There are rules for figuring how much of the NOL is used in each tax year and how much is carried to the next tax year.
Unless you choose to waive the carry-back period, you must first carry the entire NOL to the earliest carry-back year. If your NOL is not used up, you can carry the rest to the next earliest carryback year, and so on.
If you do not use up the NOL in the carry-back years, carry forward what remains of it 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 over the unused part to the next year. Continue to carry over any unused part of the NOL until you use it up or complete the 20-year carry-forward period.