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Tax Articles

Net Operating Losses

Sec. 172(a) allows taxpayers to deduct against a tax year’s income those net operating losses both carried over to the tax year from previous tax years and carried back from later tax years. An NOL basically is the excess of allowed deductions over gross income. It does not include losses, however, that are disallowed because…

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Hobby Losses

Sec. 183 denies loss deductions beyond income earned from activities in which the taxpayer does not intend to make a profit. These deductions are typically referred to as “hobby losses.” Generally, an activity is presumed to be carried on for-profit if it makes a profit in at least three of the last five tax years,…

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Gambling Losses

Sec. 165(d) limits all but professional gamblers from taking losses incurred in a wagering activity to the amount of any gains. As a result, a taxpayer cannot claim a deduction for losses incurred while gambling or betting in excess of the amount they gained from that activity over the tax year. Excess losses cannot be…

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Abandoment Losses

While a taxpayer conducts a trade or business, one or more items of business property may suddenly stop being useful. For a variety of reasons, the taxpayer may choose to stop conducting business with the property or permanently discard it. The IRS allows these businesses to claim an abandonment loss deduction under Reg. §1.165-2(a) for…

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Bad Debt Losses

Code Sec. 166, titled “Bad Debts,” generally controls who is entitled to a bad debt deduction and when a bad debt may be deducted. Sec. 166 conditions treatment generally on whether a bad debt is incurred in a trade or business. Further, Sec. 166 defers to Sec. 165 on the special treatment afforded to worthless…

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Personal Casualty Losses

Taxpayers may generally deduct losses that are sustained during the tax year and not compensated for by insurance or otherwise (Sec. 165). For individuals, deductible losses must fall within one of three categories: losses incurred in a trade or business; losses incurred in transactions entered into for profit but not connected with a trade or…

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Investment Theft Losses

Victims of investment schemes or fraud may find themselves under the casualty loss rules, rather than using the net capital loss rules to salvage their position. Sec. 165(e) allows reporting a deduction for theft losses in the year in which a “reasonable taxpayer” discovers that the property was missing. Revenue Ruling 2009-9 covers the tax…

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Net Capital Losses

After the netting of long-term and short-term capital gains and losses for any tax year, any remaining net capital loss in excess of $3,000 ($1,500 for married taxpayers filing separately) must be carried forward into the next tax year. That carryforward retains its character as long-term or short-term for netting purposes in that year. One…

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At Risk Losses

Code Sec. 465 generally limits a taxpayer’s deductible loss applicable to a trade or business or production of income to the amount that the taxpayer has at risk with respect to an activity. The rules apply to individuals and certain closely held corporations. They generally apply separately to each activity, rather than on an aggregated…

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Passive Activity Losses

Code Section 469 provides that individuals, trusts, estates, personal service corporations and closely held C corps may only deduct passive-activity losses from passive-activity income. The rules do not apply to S corps and partnerships, but do apply to their respective shareholders and partners. Passive activity is trade or business activity in which the taxpayer does…

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