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Carry forward and set off of

business losses.
SET OFF AND CARRY FORWARD OF LOSS
UNDER THE INCOME-TAX ACT
• Loss from exempted source of income cannot be adjusted against
taxable income
• If income from a particular source is exempt from tax, then loss from
such source cannot be set off against any other income which is
chargeable to tax.
• E.g., Agricultural income is exempt from tax, hence, if the taxpayer
incurs loss from agricultural activity, then such loss cannot be
adjusted against any other taxable income
• Meaning of intra-head adjustment
• If in any year the taxpayer has incurred loss from any source under a
particular head of income, then he is allowed to adjust such loss
against income from any other source falling under the same head.
• The process of adjustment of loss from a source under a particular
head of income against income from other source under the same
head of income is called intra-head adjustment, e.g. Adjustment of
loss from business A against profit from business B.
• Meaning of inter-head adjustment
• After making intra-head adjustment (if any) the next step is to make
inter-head adjustment. If in any year, the taxpayer has incurred loss
under one head of income and is having income under other head of
income, then he can adjust the loss from one head
• [As amended by Finance Act, 2017]
• against income from other head, E.g., Loss under the head of house
property income to be adjusted against salary income.
• Carry forward of unadjusted loss for adjustment in next year
• Many times it may happen that after making intra-head and inter-
head adjustments, still the loss remains unadjusted. Such unadjusted
loss can be carried forward to next year for adjustment against
subsequent year(s)’ income. Separate provisions have been framed
under the Income-tax Law for carry forward of loss under different
heads of income.
Section 72 of IT ACT, 1961
• Carry forward and set off of business losses
• 72. 1[(1) Where for any assessment year, the net result of the computation under the head 'Profits
and gains of business or profession' is a loss to the assessee, not being a loss sustained in a
speculation business, and such loss cannot be or is not wholly set off against income under any
head of income in accordance with the provisions of section 71, so much of the loss as has not
been so set off or, where the assessee has income only under the head 'Capital gains' and has
exercised the option under sub-section (2) of that section or where he has no income under any
other head, the whole loss shall, subject to the other provisions of this Chapter, be carried
forward to the following assessment year, and—
• (i) it shall be set off against the profits and gains, if any, of any business or profession carried on
by him and assessable for that assessment year:
• Provided that the business or profession for which the loss was originally computed continued to
be carried on by him in the previous year relevant for that assessment year; and
• (ii) if the loss cannot be wholly so set off, the amount of loss not so set off shall be carried forward
to the following assessment year and so on.]
• (2) Where any allowance or part thereof is, under sub-section (2)
of section 32 or sub-section (4) of section 35, to be carried forward,
effect shall first be given to the provisions of this section.
• (3) No loss shall be carried forward under this section for more than
eight assessment years immediately succeeding the assessment year
for which the loss was first computed.
Provisions of loss other than from speculative
business
• If loss of any business/profession (other than speculative business) cannot
be fully adjusted in the year in which it is incurred, then the unadjusted
loss can be carried forward for making adjustment in the next year. In the
subsequent year(s) such loss can be adjusted only against income charged
to tax under the head “Profits and gains of business or profession”
• Loss under the head “Profits and gains of business or profession” can be
carried forward only if the return of income/loss of the year in which loss is
incurred is furnished on or before the due date of furnishing the return, as
prescribed under section 139(1).
• Such loss can be carried forward for eight years immediately succeeding
the year in which the loss is incurred.
Loss from business
• Loss from business specified under section 35AD cannot be set off
against any other income except income from specified business
(section 35AD is applicable in respect of certain specified businesses
like setting up a cold chain facility, setting up and operating
warehousing facility for storage of agricultural produce, developing
and building a housing projects, etc.). Such loss can be carried
forward for adjustment against income from specified business for
any number of years
Loss from race horses
• Loss from the business of owning and maintaining race horses cannot
be set off against any income other than income from the business of
owning and maintaining race horses. Such loss can be carried forward
only for a period of 4 years.
carry forward and set off of house property
loss
• If loss under the head “Income from house property” cannot be fully
adjusted in the year in which such loss is incurred, then unadjusted
loss can be carried forward to next year.
• In the subsequent years(s) such loss can be adjusted only against
income chargeable to tax under the head “Income from house
property”.
• Such loss can be carried forward for eight years immediately
succeeding the year in which the loss is incurred
carry forward and set off of capital loss
• If loss under the head “Capital gains” incurred during a year cannot
be adjusted in the same year, then unadjusted capital loss can be
carried forward to next year.
• In the subsequent year(s), such loss can be adjusted only against
income chargeable to tax under the head “Capital gains”, however,
long-term capital loss can be adjusted only against long-term capital
gains. Short-term capital loss can be adjusted against long-term
capital gains as well as short-term capital gains.
• Such loss can be carried forward for eight years immediately
succeeding the year in which the loss is incurred.
• Carry forward of loss in case of change in the constitution of business:
Generally, the person incurring the loss is only entitled to carry forward
the loss to be adjusted in subsequent year(s). However, in certain cases
of reconstitution of the business like amalgamation, demerger,
conversion of proprietary firm into company or conversion of
partnership firm into company, etc., the reconstituted entity is entitled
to carry forward the unadjusted loss of predecessor entity (provided
that conditions specified in this regard are satisfied).
• Provisions relating to carry forward of loss in case of retirement of a
partner from a partnership firm:
• Section 78 contains provisions relating to carry forward and set off of
loss in case of change in constitution of a partnership firm due to
death or retirement of a partner (i.e. when a partner goes out of firm
by retirement or death). In such a case, the share of loss attributable
to the outgoing partner cannot be carried forward by the firm.
• Restriction of section 78 is applicable only in case of loss and is not
applicable in case of adjustment of unabsorbed depreciation,
unabsorbed capital expenditure on scientific research or family
planning expenditure.
Carry forward of losses on depriciation
• Depreciation is the allocation of the cost of an asset over its useful
life. Sec 32 of the Income Tax Act (the Act) provides for depreciation
on assets used for the purposes of business. Sec 32(2) provides for
carry forward and set off of unabsorbed depreciation.
• The carry forward and set-off, the amendment brought about by the
Finance Act 1996 restricting the claim, the subsequent 2001
amendment bringing back the original provision and the effects
thereof.