[ kar-ee-fawr-werd ]

  1. (in U.S. income-tax law) a special provision allowing part of a net loss or of an unused credit in a given year to be apportioned over one or two subsequent years, chiefly in order to ease the tax burden.

Origin of carryforward

First recorded in 1895–1900; noun use of verb phrase carry forward Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use carryforward in a sentence

  • I do not conceive and carry forward a plan in the one breath.

    The Wolf Cub | Patrick Casey
  • To carry forward a work of such magnitude to anything like completion must therefore be rather wished for than expected.

  • Clumsily they carry forward the torch of the sun, until such time as the nation sees fit to take it up.

    Howards End | E. M. Forster

British Dictionary definitions for carry forward

carry forward

verb(tr, adverb)
  1. accounting to transfer (a balance) to the next page, column, etc

  2. Also called (in Britain and certain other countries): carry over tax accounting to apply (a legally permitted credit, esp an operating loss) to the taxable income of following years to ease the overall tax burden

  1. Also called: carry-over tax accounting an amount carried forward

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with carryforward


Also, carry over. Transfer a bookkeeping entry to the next column, page, another account, or the next accounting period, as in Let's carry forward this loss to the next quarter for a saving in taxes, or She made an error in carrying over this column. The first term dates from the first half of the 1800s; the variant dates from the mid-1700s.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.