The IRS allows you to deduct certain investment expenses from your taxable income. These expenses must be related to producing taxable investment income, such as interest income or dividends.
Some common deductible investment expenses include:
- Investment interest expense: This is the interest you pay on money borrowed to buy investments.
- Brokerage fees: These are the fees you pay to your broker for buying and selling investments.
- Mutual fund expenses: These are the fees charged by mutual funds, such as management fees and 12b-1 fees.
- Custodial fees: These are the fees you pay to a custodian for holding your investments, such as a bank or trust company.
- Accounting fees: These are the fees you pay to an accountant for preparing your investment tax returns.
To deduct investment expenses, you must itemize your deductions on Schedule A of your Form 1040. You can only deduct investment expenses that exceed your net investment income. Net investment income is the amount of your investment income minus the amount of your investment expenses.
For example, let's say you have $10,000 of investment income and $5,000 of investment expenses. Your net investment income would be $5,000. You could deduct the $5,000 of investment expenses from your taxable income, which would reduce your taxable income by $5,000.
If your investment expenses exceed your net investment income, you can carry the excess expenses forward to the next year. You can continue to carry forward the excess expenses until they are fully used up.
Qualified dividends are a type of dividend that is taxed at the same rate as long-term capital gains. This means that qualified dividends are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income, which can save you money on taxes.
To qualify for the qualified dividends tax rate, the dividends must meet the following requirements:
- They must be paid by a U.S. corporation.
- They must be paid on stock that was held for more than 60 days.
If you receive qualified dividends, you will need to report them on your tax return. You will find the qualified dividends on Form 1040, Schedule D, Line 1a.
Electing to Treat Qualified Dividends as Ordinary Income
By default, qualified dividends are taxed at the lower long-term capital gains tax rate. However, you can elect to have your qualified dividends taxed at the ordinary income tax rate. This can be a good option if you are in a high tax bracket and you have a lot of qualified dividends.
To elect to treat qualified dividends as ordinary income, you must file Form 4952 with your tax return. You will find the election on Form 4952, Line 4g.
Let's say you are in the 28% tax bracket and you have $10,000 of qualified dividends. If you do not elect to treat the qualified dividends as ordinary income, you will pay $2,800 in taxes on the dividends. However, if you elect to treat the qualified dividends as ordinary income, you will pay $1,800 in taxes on the dividends. This is a savings of $1,000.
The election to treat qualified dividends as ordinary income is a permanent election. Once you make the election, you cannot revoke it. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider whether or not to make the election before you file your tax return.
When you sell an investment for less than you paid for it, you have a capital loss. Capital losses can be used to offset capital gains, which can save you money on taxes.
To qualify for the capital loss tax treatment, the investment must have been held for more than one year. If the investment was held for less than one year, the loss is a short-term loss and is taxed at ordinary income rates.
Offsetting Capital Gains
If you have capital gains, you can use your capital losses to offset them. This can reduce your taxable income and save you money on taxes.
For example, let's say you have $10,000 of capital gains and $5,000 of capital losses. You can use the $5,000 of capital losses to offset the $10,000 of capital gains. This will reduce your taxable income by $5,000 and save you money on taxes.
Carrying Forward Losses
If you have more capital losses than capital gains, you can carry the losses forward to future years. This means that you can use the losses to offset capital gains in future years.
For example, let's say you have $10,000 of capital losses and $5,000 of capital gains. You can use the $5,000 of capital losses to offset the $5,000 of capital gains. This will reduce your taxable income by $5,000 and save you money on taxes.
The remaining $5,000 of capital losses can be carried forward to future years. This means that you can use the losses to offset capital gains in future years.
The cost basis is the original price you paid for an investment. It is important to keep track of your cost basis because it is used to determine your capital gain or loss when you sell the investment.
The cost basis can be found on your investment confirmation or statement. If you do not have the cost basis, you can contact your broker or financial institution.
If you have any questions about your investment expences, you should consult with a tax professional. A tax professional can help you determine how much you are able to deduct from your taxes.