TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Investments and Taxes / What Are Deductible Investment Interest Expenses?

What Are Deductible Investment Interest Expenses?

Updated for Tax Year 2016


OVERVIEW

In general, you can deduct interest paid on money you borrow to invest, although there are restrictions on how much you can deduct and which investments actually qualify you for the deduction.


The federal tax code includes a number of incentives to encourage investment. Among them is the deduction for investment interest expenses. In general, you can deduct interest paid on money you borrow to invest, although there are restrictions on how much you can deduct and which investments actually qualify you for the deduction.

Definition of an investment interest expense

When you borrow money to buy property for investment purposes, any interest you pay on that borrowed money becomes an "investment interest expense." For example, say you take out a $5,000 loan against your home equity and use the money to buy stock. The interest on that loan is investment interest. (It wouldn't be deductible as mortgage interest because you didn't use the money to buy, build or improve your home.) If you use only part of the borrowed money for investments, you can deduct only a proportional amount of the interest you pay.

What qualifies for deduction

The deduction applies to interest on money borrowed to buy property that will produce investment income -- interest, dividends, annuities or royalties -- or that you expect to appreciate in value, allowing you to sell it at a gain in the future. However, you can't deduct interest when the property you buy produces nontaxable income, such as tax-exempt bonds.

In any year, you cannot deduct more in investment interest than you earned in investment income. However, you can carry forward your "disallowed" investment interest to the next year.

Passive activity

Interest incurred for an investment in a "passive activity" generally doesn't qualify for the investment interest deduction. A passive activity is a business or trade in which you hold an ownership interest but in which you don't actually participate.

For example, say you borrowed $20,000 to buy a 10 percent stake in a friend's car wash. That stake is certainly an investment, but unless you were there washing cars (or doing some other work), it's a passive activity, because you're not materially involved running the business. Thus, you couldn't deduct the interest on the $20,000 loan as investment interest. However, you could use the interest to offset income you received from the passive activity.

Also, under the tax code, rental activity generally counts as passive activity, so if you borrowed money to buy a house to rent out, the interest isn't deductible as investment interest. But in this case, you could use the interest as an expense item for operation of the rental property on Schedule E.

Taking the deduction

To actually claim the deduction for investment interest expenses, you must itemize your deductions. Investment interest goes on Schedule A, under "Interest You Paid." You may also have to file Form 4952, which provides details about your deduction. You don't have to file this form if you meet three conditions: interest is the only investment expense you're deducting; you're not carrying forward any disallowed interest from the previous year, and your investment interest doesn't exceed your investment income from interest and ordinary dividends.

Remember, when you use TurboTax to prepare your taxes, we’ll ask you easy-to-answer questions about your investments, determine which deductions you qualify for, and fill in all the right tax forms for you.

Got investments?

From stocks and bonds to rental income, TurboTax Premier helps you get your taxes done right

For only $79.99$54.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/1040A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Bonus Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 federal return with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/18/17 and receive a complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/18 at no additional cost. After you file your taxes, you must activate your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 7/15/2017 by logging into QuickBooks Self-Employed via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/login. Once activated, you will have access to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/2018.
    Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not file with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/30/2018, your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription will automatically renew on 5/1/2018 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself: In order to pay for the price of TurboTax Self-Employed, you will need at least $600 in deductible business expenses. This calculation is based on the self-employment tax income rate for tax year 2016.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or SmartLook); not included with Federal Free Edition. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • TurboTax Self-Employed Expense Finder: Available only in TurboTax Self-Employed. Not available for people with certain types of expenses and tax situations including paying contractors or employees, home office or vehicle actuals, inventory, self employed health insurance or retirement, asset depreciation, sale of property or vehicles, and farm income. Some financial institutions limit the timeframe for which historical transactions may be imported by ExpenseFinder. ExpenseFinder expected late January (late February for mobile app).
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.