Examples of nondeductible expenses are listed next. The list is followed by discussions of additional nondeductible expenses.taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174152
- Broker's commissions that you paid in connection with your IRA or other investment property.
- Burial or funeral expenses, including the cost of a cemetery lot.
- Capital expenses.
- Fees and licenses, such as car licenses, marriage licenses, and dog tags.
- Hobby losses, but see Hobby Expenses, earlier.
- Home repairs, insurance, and rent.
- Illegal bribes and kickbacks—See Bribes and kickbacks in chapter 11 of Publication 535.
- Losses from the sale of your home, furniture, personal car, etc.
- Personal disability insurance premiums.
- Personal, living, or family expenses.
- The value of wages never received or lost vacation time.
You cannot deduct the expenses of adopting a child, but you may be able to take a credit for those expenses. See chapter 37
You cannot deduct campaign expenses of a candidate for any office, even if the candidate is running for reelection to the office. These include qualification and registration fees for primary elections. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174157
You cannot deduct legal fees paid to defend charges that arise from participation in a political campaign. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174158
If you have a personal checking account, you cannot deduct fees charged by the bank for the privilege of writing checks, even if the account pays interest. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174159
Generally, you cannot deduct the cost of membership in any club organized for business, pleasure, recreation, or other social purpose. This includes business, social, athletic, luncheon, sporting, airline, hotel, golf, and country clubs.
You cannot deduct dues paid to an organization if one of its main purposes is to:
- Conduct entertainment activities for members or their guests, or
- Provide members or their guests with access to entertainment facilities.
Dues paid to airline, hotel, and luncheon clubs are not deductible. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174160
You cannot deduct commuting expenses (the cost of transportation between your home and your main or regular place of work). If you haul tools, instruments, or other items, in your car to and from work, you can deduct only the additional cost of hauling the items such as the rent on a trailer to carry the items. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174161
You cannot deduct fines or penalties you pay to a governmental unit for violating a law. This includes an amount paid in settlement of your actual or potential liability for a fine or penalty (civil or criminal). Fines or penalties include parking tickets, tax penalties, and penalties deducted from teachers' paychecks after an illegal strike. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174162
You cannot deduct health spa expenses, even if there is a job requirement to stay in excellent physical condition, such as might be required of a law enforcement officer. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174163
You cannot deduct the cost of a home security system as a miscellaneous deduction. However, you may be able to claim a deduction for a home security system as a business expense if you have a home office. See Home Office
under Unreimbursed Employee Expenses,
earlier, and Security System
under Deducting Expenses
in Publication 587.
You cannot deduct any expenses for attending a convention, seminar, or similar meeting for investment purposes. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174166
You cannot deduct premiums you pay on your life insurance. You may be able to deduct, as alimony, premiums you pay on life insurance policies assigned to your former spouse. See chapter 18
for information on alimony.
You generally cannot deduct amounts paid or incurred for lobbying expenses. These include expenses to:
- Influence legislation,
- Participate or intervene in any political campaign for, or against, any candidate for public office,
- Attempt to influence the general public, or segments of the public, about elections, legislative matters, or referendums, or
- Communicate directly with covered executive branch officials in any attempt to influence the official actions or positions of those officials.
Lobbying expenses also include any amounts paid or incurred for research, preparation, planning, or coordination of any of these activities.
If a tax-exempt organization notifies you that part of the dues or other amounts you pay to the organization are used to pay nondeductible lobbying expenses, you cannot deduct that part. See Lobbying Expenses in Publication 529 for information on exceptions. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174170
You cannot deduct a loss based on the mere disappearance of money or property. However, an accidental loss or disappearance of property can qualify as a casualty if it results from an identifiable event that is sudden, unexpected, or unusual. See chapter 25
A car door is accidentally slammed on your hand, breaking the setting of your diamond ring. The diamond falls from the ring and is never found. The loss of the diamond is a casualty. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174173
You cannot deduct the expenses of lunches with co-workers, except while traveling away from home on business. See chapter 26
for information on deductible expenses while traveling away from home.
You cannot deduct the cost of meals while working late. However, you may be able to claim a deduction if the cost of meals is a deductible entertainment expense, or if you are traveling away from home. See chapter 26
for information on deductible entertainment expenses and expenses while traveling away from home.
You cannot deduct personal legal expenses such as those for the following.
- Custody of children.
- Breach of promise to marry suit.
- Civil or criminal charges resulting from a personal relationship.
- Damages for personal injury, except for certain unlawful discrimination and whistleblower claims.
- Preparation of a title (or defense or perfection of a title).
- Preparation of a will.
- Property claims or property settlement in a divorce.
You cannot deduct these expenses even if a result of the legal proceeding is the loss of income-producing property. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174178
You cannot deduct contributions made to a political candidate, a campaign committee, or a newsletter fund. Advertisements in convention bulletins and admissions to dinners or programs that benefit a political party or political candidate are not deductible. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174179
You cannot deduct professional accreditation fees such as the following.
- Accounting certificate fees paid for the initial right to practice accounting.
- Bar exam fees and incidental expenses in securing initial admission to the bar.
- Medical and dental license fees paid to get initial licensing.
You cannot deduct expenses of radio and TV appearances to increase your personal prestige or establish your professional reputation. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174181
You cannot deduct contributions paid to a private plan that pays benefits to any covered employee who cannot work because of any injury or illness not related to the job. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174182
You cannot deduct any charge (including taxes) for basic local telephone service for the first telephone line to your residence, even if it is used in a trade or business. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174183
You cannot deduct transportation and other expenses you pay to attend stockholders' meetings of companies in which you own stock but have no other interest. You cannot deduct these expenses even if you are attending the meeting to get information that would be useful in making further investments. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174184
You cannot deduct expenses to produce tax-exempt income. You cannot deduct interest on a debt incurred or continued to buy or carry
If you have expenses to produce both taxable and tax-exempt income, but you cannot identify the expenses that produce each type of income, you must divide the expenses based on the amount of each type of income to determine the amount that you can deduct. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174185
During the year, you received taxable interest of $4,800 and tax-exempt interest of $1,200. In earning this income, you had total expenses of $500 during the year. You cannot identify the amount of each expense item that is for each income item. Therefore, 80% ($4,800/$6,000) of the expense is for the taxable interest and 20% ($1,200/$6,000) is for the tax-exempt interest. You can deduct, subject to the 2% limit, expenses of $400 (80% of $500).taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174186
You generally cannot deduct travel expenses you pay or incur for a spouse, dependent, or other individual who accompanies you (or your employee) on business or personal travel. See chapter 26
for more information on deductible travel expenses.
You cannot deduct voluntary unemployment benefit fund contributions you make to a union fund or a private fund. However, you can deduct contributions as taxes if state law requires you to make them to a state unemployment fund that covers you for the loss of wages from unemployment caused by business conditions. taxmap/pub17/p17-158.htm#en_us_publink1000174189
You cannot deduct the cost of a wristwatch, even if there is a job requirement that you know the correct time to properly perform your duties.