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What is a tax loss?

You make a tax loss when your total deductions exceed your total assessable and net exempt income for the year.

Last updated 27 May 2015

Deductions that do not give rise to a loss

Certain deductions that would otherwise be allowable cannot be claimed as deductions where they would give rise to a tax loss. They are:

  • payments of pensions, gratuities or retirement allowances to employees, former employees, or their dependents
  • gifts or contributions made to deductible gift recipients
  • payments made under conservation covenants
  • personal superannuation contributions.

Tax loss or capital loss?

A tax loss is different from a capital loss.

A capital loss occurs when you dispose of a capital asset for less than its tax value. A capital loss can only be offset against any capital gains in the same income year or carried forward to offset against future capital gains – it cannot be offset against income.

Australian and foreign residents

Australian residents now calculate an overall tax loss on the basis of their worldwide income and deductions. Foreign residents calculate a tax loss on the basis of their Australian income and deductions incurred in earning that income.

See also:

Non-commercial losses