A Guide About What Is Alternative Tax Net Operating Loss (ATNOL)?

Oct 19, 2023 By Triston Martin

The AMT is an entirely separate tax calculation applicable to certain companies and individuals in certain situations. If certain conditions are met (we do not need to look into the details here), AMT is the only option. AMT gives a distinct set of formulas that can be used to calculate the amount of income tax a business or individual is liable to pay. This guide will inform you about What Is Alternative Tax Net Operating Loss (ATNOL)?

The net operating loss can be described as the solution to the other formulas when AMT is used. That's why we have that "alternative tax" component. However, "net operating loss" is what it means. If a business has lost money following the removal of certain items over a certain period, it has been a "net operating loss."

The ATNOL has different rules for what counts when calculating the operating losses compared to standard tax calculations. The things that can be deducted or exempted from the formula differ.

Understanding Operating Loss

Net operating losses (NOL) are incurred when the company's tax deductions exceed its tax-deductible income. If more expenses than revenue are incurred during the time that is a net operating loss, the business is usually utilized to recuperate past tax obligations. In essence, NOL could be used to offset tax-free income, thus reducing the amount of taxes paid.

Once businesses reach a specific size and reach a certain extent, they may depend on an additional minimum tax. A company in the tax bracket of alternative minimum (AMT) has only a few deductions it can claim. For example, it will not be able to subtract taxes imposed by local or state governments from its profits, and all other miscellaneous deductions are not allowed. If the company suffers a net operating loss, it may carry its NOL forward for up to 80 percent of its AMT tax-deductible earnings. In other words, it can deduct up to 80 percent of the loss from its income per AMT rules.

In the same way that an NOL is defined as the excess of tax deductions of a taxpayer over their gross income, an ATNOL is the difference of assumptions that a taxpayer can take to determine AMT income over the amount which is included in the calculation of the taxpayer's alternative taxable income, which is calculated using the adjustments made to Code Section 172(d). Section 56 of the Internal Revenue Code (Title 26) allows taxpayers to replace their net operating losses for ATNOL in calculating an alternative tax minimum. When estimating the alternative least tax amount, it has to take the alternative deduction for tax net operating loss. The amount in ATNOL that can be considered when calculating the AMT income must not exceed 80 percent of the tax obligation.

How Do I Calculate Net Operating Loss?

Net operating losses often referred to as net losses, are reported on the bottom line or income statement. Before the introduction of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in 2018, the IRS permitted businesses to carry their net operating losses for 20 years, allowing them to offset be net of future earnings, and in the past two years to get the immediate repayment of any previous taxes that were paid. Since the value of time money indicates that tax savings now will be more beneficial than those shortly, the carryback approach was typically used and followed by the carry forward method. After carrying forward losses to 20 years, the remaining losses were deemed expired and could not be used to reduce tax-deductible income.

ATNOL Conditions and Restrictions

If an ATNOL deduction exceeds the limit, the ATNOL limit will apply to the year born ahead. Contrary to the ordinary NOL deduction, the alternative deduction for net operating losses don't allow an organization to include a variety of everyday expenses, including investments fees as well as local and state taxes that the company has paid, as well as the accelerated depreciation of equipment or other business assets. Only during the years when an entity must comply with AMT rules are ATNOL rules in effect. To report ATNOL, the taxpayers need to complete Form 1045 as well as Form 6251.


Net operating loss of alternative tax (ATNOL) is considered a factor to calculate an available loss net if it is subject to alternative minimum taxes (AMT). AMT guarantees taxpayers pay the minimum fair share of tax by excluding or restricting certain deductions or credits available to eligible individuals and companies. ATNOL will therefore consider the tax deductions that are limited in computing the net operating loss, making that net loss seem less for tax purposes.

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