Tax Preparation Help  
Publication 536 2008 Tax Year

Publication 536 - Introductory Material

Certain timber losses. You can no longer treat income and expenses attributable to qualified timber property located in the GO Zone, Rita GO Zone, or Wilma GO Zone, as a farming business for 2007 or later years.

Photographs of missing children. The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

If your deductions for the year are more than your income for the year, you may have a net operating loss (NOL). An NOL year is the year in which an NOL occurs. You can use an NOL by deducting it from your income in another year or years.

What this publication covers.   This publication discusses NOLs for individuals, estates, and trusts. It covers:
  • How to figure an NOL,

  • When to use an NOL,

  • How to claim an NOL deduction, and

  • How to figure an NOL carryover.

To have an NOL, your loss must generally be caused by deductions from your:

  • Trade or business,

  • Work as an employee,

  • Casualty and theft losses,

  • Moving expenses, or

  • Rental property.

A loss from operating a business is the most common reason for an NOL.

Partnerships and S corporations generally cannot use an NOL. However, partners or shareholders can use their separate shares of the partnership's or S corporation's business income and business deductions to figure their individual NOLs.

Keeping records.   You should keep records for any tax year that generates an NOL for three years after you have used the carryback/carryforward or three years after the carryforward expires.

What is not covered in this publication?   The following topics are not covered in this publication.
  • Bankruptcies. See Publication 908, Bankruptcy Tax Guide.

  • NOLs of corporations. See Publication 542, Corporations.

Comments and suggestions.   We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

  You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Individual Forms and Publications Branch
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224

  We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.

  You can email us at *[email protected]. (The asterisk must be included in the address.) Please put “Publications Comment” on the subject line. Although we cannot respond individually to each email, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.

Ordering forms and publications.   Visit to download forms and publications, call 1-800-829-3676, or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 business days after your request is received.

National Distribution Center
P. O. Box 8903
Bloomington, IL 61702-8903

Tax questions.   If you have a tax question, visit or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions at either of the addresses listed above.


  • 4492 Information for Taxpayers Affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma

Form (and Instructions)

  • 1040X
    Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

  • 1045
    Application for Tentative Refund

See How To Get Tax Help near the end of this publication for information about getting these forms.

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