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Returning Member

Did I screw myself by not filing past returns on time when I have NOL?

I had NOL's for 2015, 2016, 2017 from a failed business investment. I never filed tax returns for those years and never filed form 1045 (I was unaware of the form1045 until now). My intention was to carry forward the losses/Nol's in future years. During 2018 - 2020.... I have worked a w-2 job and claimed exempt. I am now wanting to get caught up on those past tax returns and apply the carry forward 2015, 2016, 2017 NOL's to my 2018, 2019 earned income. Did I screw up my chances of claiming my 2015,2016,2017 losses on my 2018, 2019 tax returns?   

4 Replies
Not applicable

Did I screw myself by not filing past returns on time when I have NOL?

the requirement for a year of an NOL is to make an election to forgo the NOL carryback. The election must be made on a timely filed return.  so the 2015 NOL has to be carried back to 2013 (or maybe 2012 -see below for qualified small business NOL) any remaining would be carried forward.  if nothing remaining it is lost because the time period for filing a 2015 NOL c/b claim has expired (had to be filed by 4/15/2019). 

you may qualify for a 3-year c/b if the loss was attributable to a qualified small business

Qualified small business.

A qualified small business is a sole proprietorship or a partnership that has average annual gross receipts
(reduced by returns and allowances) of $5 million or less during the 3-year period ending with
the tax year of the NOL. If the business did not
exist for this entire 3-year period, use the period
the business was in existence.
An eligible loss does not include a farming
loss or a qualified disaster loss.

the same would apply to 2016 - carryback to 2014 (or 2013) any remaining gets carried forward. the NOL rules were the same.   


i would suggest you seek pro help in preparing those missing returns and determining whether you have any NOL's left to carry forward to 2018 and beyond 

Level 12
Level 12

Did I screw myself by not filing past returns on time when I have NOL?

@johnfrem  you would need to file the non-filed returns  to recognize the NOLs before you can show these on 2018 and 2019.  My best suggestion would  be , please see a tax professional  to help get this behind you.  Hopefully you don't own anything from the un-filed years -- interest and penalties can be expensive. There could also be failure to file ( without a good cause ) penalty.  Just see a tax professional -- it can and needs to be straightened  out.


You said you claimed exempt ( from withholding for federal taxes  ) for 2019  ( or  2018 and 2019  or what ) and the IRS has signed off on that ?  Please make sure that  it is so.

Level 15

Did I screw myself by not filing past returns on time when I have NOL?

This is not a mess you can fix on your own ... seek a qualified local tax professional well versed in NOLs ASAP. 

Level 11

Did I screw myself by not filing past returns on time when I have NOL?

The short answer is YES, you lost part or all of your NOL from 2015 and 2016.


Because you did not file the election to "waive the carryback", it is now past the Statute of Limitations to claim that NOL on your 2013 and 2014 returns.


If 2013 and 2014 would not have absorbed all of the NOL, then the non-absorbed amount would carry forward and can be used in 2018.  The NOL from 2017 will also be able to be used because there was no income in 2015 and 2016 to absorb that loss.


But as the others have said, go to a tax professional that knows NOLs.

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