Capital Loss Carryover

What is Capital Loss Carryover?

Capital loss carryover is the benefit that has been extended to the taxpayers for claiming the capital losses that were incurred during the year, to be set off against the subsequent capital gains. As per US Tax Laws, net capital losses can only be deducted up to a maximum of $3,000 in a year in the case of an individual. The amount over $3000 needs to be carried forward to the next year till exhausted. There is no time frame within which such loss can be utilized.

For corporations, their capital loss must be utilized against the preceding three years of capital gains, and the unutilized capital losses need to be applied in the upcoming five years against capital gains.

Capital Loss Formula

There are two types of capital losses – short term and long term.

  • Short Term – It refers to the assets which are held for a year or less than that.
  • Long Term – It refers to the assets which are owned for more than a year.

The reason for segregation is due to the different tax rates.

If during the year, the net long-term capital loss exceeds the net short term capital gain, then the excess becomes the net long term capital loss in the following year.

First Formula

  • Net long-term capital loss  –  xx
  • Net Short-term capital gain  –  xx
  • Net long-term capital loss   –  xx

If during the year, the net short-term capital loss exceeds the net long term capital gain, then the excess becomes the net short term capital loss in the following year.

Second Formula

  • Net short-term capital loss  –  xx
  • Net long-term capital gain   –  xx
  • Net short-term capital loss  –  xx
Capital Loss Carryover

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For eg:
Source: Capital Loss Carryover (

How to Calculate Capital Loss Carryover?

To determine the nature of our loss, we need to have the following data –

  • Purchase date.
  • The purchase price, which includes any taxes or fees you paid, (improvements in the asset over time, would also form part of this cost).
  • Sale date.
  • Sale consideration received for the asset, reduced by any fees or cost of selling it.

#1 – Individual

Rob purchased home in 2009 for $200,000 and paid $3000 as closing costs. Rob incurred $100,000 for improving the asset and finally sold the home in 2019 at $150,000, incurring brokerage cost of $5,000.

Sales Price$150,000
Less: Brokerage Incurred$5,000
Less: Cost of the House203,000
Less: Improvements$100,000
Final Capital Loss($158,000)
  • Now this capital loss amounting to $158,000 would be first set off against the capital gains, and if there are none, then it would be offset against the ordinary income.
  • Say, Rob has an ordinary income of $ 50,000, then in the particular calendar year, he would be entitled to deduct $3,000 of capital loss, and rest would be carried forward indefinitely.
  • So, in this scenario, Rob’s ordinary income would be $47,000, and the rest of the capital loss $155,000 would be carried forward to the following year.

#2 – Corporations

Apple Inc. has a capital loss of $100,000 in the year 2019. The past three years capital gain look like this –

  • 2018 – $ 35,000
  • 2017 –  $0
  • 2016 – $ 45,000

Going per the law, $100,000 can be offset against the 2016 capital gain of $45,000, with the residual loss being $55,000.

  • As there is no capital gain in 2017, so the capital loss would be $55,000;
  • Coming to the year 2018, $55,000 loss can be set off against the gain of $35,000, leaving us with a loss of $20,000.
  • Thus, a $20,000 loss would be carried forward to the next five years.

How to Claim Capital Losses?

Capital loss needs to be claimed in the IRS Form 8949, Sales and Other Disposition of Capital Assets, with your tax return. In addition to this, capital gains and losses and tax loss carryforwardsTax Loss CarryforwardsTax Loss Carry forward is a provision which permits an individual to take forward or carry over the tax loss to the next year to set off the future profit. Any taxpayer can claim it to lower the tax payments in the more are reported in Schedule D of IRS Forms also.



  • Meager Amount – The loss that can be set off in a particular year is $3,000, which is very meager for investors who deal in the stock market daily as substantial losses can take years to use, with a little tax benefit.
  • Lack of Uniformity – The capital loss tax laws change according to the state in which the taxpayer lives in. In New York, federal loss carryforward rules are being followed, whereas New Jersey does not follow the same. While federal tax laws are cumbersome, state and local laws act as fuel to the fire, raising additional complexity in the understanding of the law.


This article has been a guide to What is Capital Loss Carryover & its Definition. Here we discuss how to calculate the capital loss carryover and how to claim along with examples, formula, advantages & disadvantages. You can learn more about from the following articles –

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