Set off of losses under Income Tax Act


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Set off of losses

Set off of losses means adjusting the losses against the profit or income of that particular year. Losses that are not set off against income in the same year can be carried forward to the subsequent years for set off against income of those years. A set-off could be an intra-head set-off or an inter-head set-off.

a. An intra-head set-off

b. An inter-head set-off

a. Intra-head Set Off

The losses from one source of income can be set off against income from another source under the same head of income.

For eg: Loss from Business A can be set off against profit from Business B, where Business A is one source and Business B is another source and the common head of income is “Business”.

Exceptions to an intra-head set off:

1. Losses from a Speculative business will only be set off against the profit of the speculative business. One cannot adjust the losses of speculative business with the income from any other business or profession.

2. Loss from an activity of owning and maintaining race-horses will be set off only against the profit from an activity of owning and maintaining race-horses.

3. Long-term capital loss will only be adjusted towards long-term capital gains. However, a short-term capital loss can be set off against both long-term capital gains and short-term capital gain.

4. Losses from a specified business will be set off only against profit of specified businesses. But the losses from any other businesses or profession can be set off against profits from the specified businesses.

b. Inter-head Set Off

After the intra-head adjustments, the taxpayers can set off remaining losses against income from other heads.

Eg. Loss from house property can be set off against salary income

Given below are few more such instances of an inter-head set off of losses:

1. Loss from House property can be set off against income under any head

2. Business loss other than speculative business can be set off against any head of income except except income from salary.

One needs to also note that the following losses can’t be set off against any other head of income:

a. Speculative Business loss

b. Specified business loss

c. Capital Losses

d. Losses from an activity of owning and maintaining race-horses

Section 70 of the Income Tax Act: (Set off of loss from one source against income from another source under the same head of income)

(1) Save as otherwise provided in this Act, where the net result for any assessment year in respect of any source falling under any head of income, other than “Capital gains”, is a loss, the assessee shall be entitled to have the amount of such loss set off against his income from any other source under the same head.

(2) Where the result of the computation made for any assessment year under sections 48 to 55 in respect of any short-term capital asset is a loss, the assessee shall be entitled to have the amount of such loss set off against the income, if any, as arrived at under a similar computation made for the assessment year in respect of any other capital asset.

(3) Where the result of the computation made for any assessment year under sections 48 to 55 in respect of any capital asset (other than a short-term capital asset) is a loss, the assessee shall be entitled to have the amount of such loss set off against the income, if any, as arrived at under a similar computation made for the assessment year in respect of any other capital asset not being a short-term capital asset.


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