If I have no income for a year but incurred capital losses in a past year, do I have to file a return for each year following the capital loss (even if I have no income) in order to retain the capital loss carryover to use against capital gains in the future?

  • Is this a question about united states?
    – littleadv
    Commented Jan 11 at 5:38
  • Yes. It's a question about the United States.
    – sterid
    Commented Jan 11 at 5:40

1 Answer 1


In the US you'll need to file your tax return to establish your capital loss, and then to carry it forward either as NOL (for the $3000/year you can deduct from your ordinary income) or as carry-forward capital loss.

  • Not sure what NOL stands for, but what if there was no income? Is it still necessary to file a tax return without income in order to carry forward a capital loss?
    – sterid
    Commented Jan 11 at 6:26
  • 2
    NOL is "Net Operating Loss". When you have no income, but deductions - you end up with negative income, which you can also carry forward to the next year and deduct from the income then.
    – littleadv
    Commented Jan 11 at 6:35
  • Looking that up, isnt NOL carryover something for businesses, not individuals?
    – sterid
    Commented Jan 12 at 10:51
  • 1
    @sterid See the IRS Pub 536: irs.gov/publications/p536
    – littleadv
    Commented Jan 12 at 15:54

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