DEFINITION of 'Suspended Loss'

A capital loss that cannot be realized in a given tax year due to passive activity limitations. These losses are therefore "suspended" until they can be netted against passive income in a future tax year. Suspended losses are incurred as a result of passive activities, and can only be carried forward.

BREAKING DOWN 'Suspended Loss'

Suspended losses that are incurred as a result of the disposition of a passive interest are subject to an annual capital loss limit. Suspended losses can, however, be used to offset income realized in a later year that is generated from material participation in the activity that initially produced the loss. For example, if a taxpayer incurs a $5,000 suspended loss in one year from a passive activity and then materially participates in the activity the following year and earns $10,000, then the suspended loss may be applied against $5,000 of the earned income, leaving the taxpayer with $5,000 of declarable income for the year.

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