For taxpayers choosing to not carryback an Net Operating Loss or “NOL” arising in 2018, 2019 or 2020, the IRS issued guidance in Rev Proc 2020-24 that says that you must make an election to not carry the loss back on the 2020 return.  You may recall under the old rules you were deemed to make this election if you did not file an amended return to carry the loss back and instead used it on the following year’s return.  But according to Rev Proc 2020-24 you will have to make this election to avoid being required to carry the loss back before using it in the future.  The Rev Proc says to elect to forego the carryback of 2018 and 2019 NOLs, you must make the election on the federal income tax return for the first taxable year ending after March 27, 2020 (which would be the calendar year 2020 return) by attaching a separate statement.

One question that is not clear is what you would do if you have not yet filed your 2019 return and you have an NOL for 2018 that you don’t want to carryback to 2013.  I think until we get further guidance, I would put the election in both the 2019 and 2020 returns.  Furthermore, if you are amending a 2018 return and creating an NOL in the process that you want to carry to 2019 instead of carrying it back, I would add the statement to all three returns (the amended 2018 return, the 2019 return in which you use the 2018 NOL and the 2020 return).  See IRS FAQ re CARES Act NOL.