How to Claim a Net Operating Loss Refund

Form 1045 and Form 1040X

You may use either Form 1045 or Form 1040X to claim an NOL refund. You'll get a faster refund if you use Form 1045, usually about 90 days.

Purpose of Form 1045:

  • Form 1045 is used by an individual, estate, or trust to apply for a quick tax refund resulting from:
    • The carryback of a Net Operating Loss (NOL).
    • The carryback of an unused general business credit.
    • The carryback of a net section 1256 contracts loss.
    • An overpayment of tax due to a claim of right adjustment under section 1341(b)(1).
  • You must file Form 1045 no later than one year after the NOL year.

Example:

  • You have an NOL for 2015 (the NOL year).
  • You're a calendar year taxpayer (Jan. 1 through Dec 31)
    • You must file Form 1045 no later than December 31, 2016.

Note Do not file Form 1045 with your original Form 1040. File Form 1045 separately and attach it to a copy of Form 1040.

Form 1040X:

  • Instead of using Form 1045 to claim an NOL refund, you may use Form 1040X.
  • If you choose to use Form 1040X, you must use a separate Form 1040X to amend each carryback year to which you apply an NOL.
  • Attach a computation of your NOL to Form 1040X using Schedule A of Form 1045 and Schedule B for NOL carryovers, if applicable.
  • It takes longer to get a refund if you use Form 1040X.
  • One advantage of using Form 1040X is that you have more time to file it.
    • You must file Form 1040X within threes years after the due date (including extensions) for filing Form 1040 for the NOL year.
    • You must file Form 1045, no later than one year after the NOL year.

Example:

  • You have an NOL for 2014 (the NOL year).
  • You're a calendar year taxpayer.
  • Your Form 1040 is due April 15, 2015.
  • You carry the NOL back to 2012 (two years prior to the NOL).
    • Form 1040X must be filed no later than April 15, 2018 (the third year after the April 15, 2015 due date for Form 1040, plus extensions).
    • Form 1045 would have to be filed no later than December 31, 2015, one year after the NOL year of 2014.

File your personal and small business taxes (Schedule C)