This section discusses interest expenses you may be able to deduct as an investor.
For information on business interest, see chapter 4 of Publication 535.
You cannot deduct personal interest expenses other than qualified home mortgage interest, as explained in Publication 936, Home Mortgage Interest Deduction, and interest on certain student loans, as explained in Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010208
If you borrow money to buy property you hold for investment, the interest you pay is investment interest. You can deduct investment interest subject to the limit discussed later. However, you cannot deduct interest you incurred to produce tax-exempt income. See Tax-exempt income
under Nondeductible Expenses
, later. Nor can you deduct interest expenses on straddles
, also discussed under Nondeductible Expenses
Investment interest does not include any qualified home mortgage interest or any interest taken into account in computing income or loss from a passive activity. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010209
Property held for investment includes property that produces interest, dividends, annuities, or royalties not derived in the ordinary course of a trade or business. It also includes property that produces gain or loss (not derived in the ordinary course of a trade or business) from the sale or trade of property producing these types of income or held for investment (other than an interest in a passive activity). Investment property also includes an interest in a trade or business activity in which you did not materially participate (other than a passive activity). taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010210
To determine your investment interest, combine your share of investment interest from a partnership, S corporation, estate, or trust with your other investment interest. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010211
If you borrow money for business or personal purposes as well as for investment, you must allocate the debt among those purposes. Only the interest expense on the part of the debt used for investment purposes is treated as investment interest. The allocation is not affected by the use of property that secures the debt. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010212
You borrow $10,000 and use $8,000 to buy stock. You use the other $2,000 to buy items for your home. Since 80% of the debt is used for, and allocated to, investment purposes, 80% of the interest on that debt is investment interest. The other 20% is nondeductible personal interest.taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010213
If you receive debt proceeds in cash, the proceeds are generally not treated as investment property. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010214
If you deposit debt proceeds in an account, that deposit is treated as investment property, regardless of whether the account bears interest. But, if you withdraw the funds and use them for another purpose, you must reallocate the debt to determine the amount considered to be for investment purposes. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010215
Assume in Example 1 that you borrowed the money on March 1 and immediately bought the stock for $8,000. You did not buy the household items until June 1. You had deposited the $2,000 in the bank. You had no other transactions on the bank account until June. You did not sell the stock and you made no principal payments on the debt. You paid interest from another account. The $8,000 is treated as being used for an investment purpose. The $2,000 is treated as being used for an investment purpose for the 3-month period. Your total interest expense for 3 months on this debt is investment interest. In June, when you spend the $2,000 for household items, you must begin to allocate 80% of the debt and the interest expense to investment purposes and 20% to personal purposes. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010216
If you receive loan proceeds in cash or if the loan proceeds are deposited in an account, you can treat any payment (up to the amount of the proceeds) made from any account you own, or from cash, as made from those proceeds. This applies to any payment made within 30 days before or after the proceeds are received in cash or deposited in your account.
If you received the loan proceeds in cash, you can treat the payment as made on the date you received the cash instead of the date you actually made the payment.taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010217
As you repay a debt used for more than one purpose, you must reallocate the balance. You must first reduce the amount allocated to personal purposes by the repayment. You then reallocate the rest of the debt to find what part is for investment purposes. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010218
If, in Example 2, you repay $500 on November 1, the entire repayment is applied against the amount allocated to personal purposes. The debt balance is now allocated as $8,000 for investment purposes, and $1,500 for personal purposes. Until the next reallocation is necessary, 84% ($8,000 ÷ $9,500) of the debt and the interest expense is allocated to investment.taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010219
If you use borrowed funds to buy an interest in a partnership or S corporation, then the interest on those funds must be allocated based on the assets of the entity. If you contribute to the capital of the entity, you can make the allocation using any reasonable method. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010220
For more information about allocating interest expense, see chapter 4 of Publication 535.taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010221
If you use the cash method of accounting, you must pay the interest before you can deduct it.
If you use an accrual method of accounting, you can deduct interest over the period it accrues, regardless of when you pay it. For an exception, see Unpaid expenses owed to related party
under When To Report Investment Expenses
, later in this chapter.
You borrowed $1,000 on September 3, 2009, payable in 90 days at 12% interest. On December 2, 2009, you paid this with a new note for $1,030, due on March 2, 2010. If you use the cash method of accounting, you cannot deduct any part of the $30 interest on your return for 2009 because you did not actually pay it. If you use an accrual method, you may be able to deduct a portion of the interest on the loans through December 31, 2009, on your return for 2009.taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010223
Generally, if you pay interest in advance for a period that goes beyond the end of the tax year, you must spread the interest over the tax years to which it belongs under the OID rules discussed in chapter 1. You can deduct in each year only the interest for that year. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010224
If you are a cash method taxpayer, you can deduct interest on margin accounts to buy taxable securities as investment interest in the year you paid it. You are considered to have paid interest on these accounts only when you actually pay the broker or when payment becomes available to the broker through your account. Payment may become available to the broker through your account when the broker collects dividends or interest for your account, or sells securities held for you or received from you.
You cannot deduct any interest on money borrowed for personal reasons. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010225
The amount you can deduct for interest expense you paid or accrued during the year to buy or carry a market discount bond may be limited. This limit does not apply if you accrue the market discount and include it in your income currently.
Under this limit, the interest is deductible only to the extent it is more than:
- The total interest and OID includible in gross income for the bond for the year, plus
- The market discount for the number of days you held the bond during the year.
Figure the amount in (2) above using the rules for figuring accrued market discount in chapter 1 under Market Discount Bonds
In the year you dispose of the bond, you can deduct the amount of any interest expense you were not allowed to deduct in earlier years because of the limit. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010227
You can choose to deduct disallowed interest expense in any year before the year you dispose of the bond, up to your net interest income from the bond during the year. The rest of the disallowed interest expense remains deductible in the year you dispose of the bond. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010228
This is the interest income (including OID) from the bond that you include in income for the year, minus the interest expense paid or accrued during the year to purchase or carry the bond. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010229
If the current income inclusion rules discussed in chapter 1 under Discount on Short-Term Obligations
do not apply to you, the amount you can deduct for interest expense you paid or accrued during the year to buy or carry a short-term obligation is limited.
The interest is deductible only to the extent it is more than:
- The amount of acquisition discount or OID on the obligation for the tax year, plus
- The amount of any interest payable on the obligation for the year that is not included in income because of your accounting method (other than interest taken into account in determining the amount of acquisition discount or OID).
The method of determining acquisition discount and OID for short-term obligations is discussed in chapter 1 under Discount on Short-Term Obligations
In the year you dispose of the obligation, or if you choose, in another year in which you have net interest income from the obligation, you can deduct the amount of any interest expense you were not allowed to deduct for an earlier year because of the limit. Follow the same rules provided in the earlier discussion under Limit on interest deduction for market discount bonds
Generally, your deduction for investment interest expense is limited to the amount of your net investment income.
You can carry over the amount of investment interest that you could not deduct because of this limit to the next tax year. The interest carried over is treated as investment interest paid or accrued in that next year.
You can carry over disallowed investment interest to the next tax year even if it is more than your taxable income in the year the interest was paid or accrued.taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010232
Determine the amount of your net investment income by subtracting your investment expenses (other than interest expense) from your investment income. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010233
This generally includes your gross income from property held for investment (such as interest, dividends, annuities, and royalties). Investment income does not include Alaska Permanent Fund dividends. It also does not include qualified dividends or net capital gain unless you choose to include them. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010234
Investment income generally does not include qualified dividends, discussed in chapter 1. However, you can choose to include all or part of your qualified dividends in investment income.
You make this choice by completing Form 4952, line 4g, according to its instructions.
If you choose to include any amount of your qualified dividends in investment income, you must reduce your qualified dividends that are eligible for the lower capital gains tax rates by the same amount.taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010235
Investment income generally does not include net capital gain from disposing of investment property (including capital gain distributions from mutual funds). However, you can choose to include all or part of your net capital gain in investment income.
You make this choice by completing Form 4952, line 4g, according to its instructions.
If you choose to include any amount of your net capital gain in investment income, you must reduce your net capital gain that is eligible for the lower capital gains tax rates by the same amount.
Before making either choice, consider the overall effect on your tax liability. Compare your tax if you make one or both of these choices with your tax if you do not.
Investment income includes the part of your child's interest and dividend income that you choose to report on your return. If the child does not have qualified dividends, Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, or capital gain distributions, this is the amount on line 6 of Form 8814, Parents' Election To Report Child's Interest and Dividends. Include it on line 4a of Form 4952.taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010238
Your 8-year-old son has interest income of $2,200, which you choose to report on your own return. You enter $2,200 on Form 8814, lines 1a and 4, and $300 on lines 6 and 12. Also enter $300 on Form 1040, line 21. Your investment income includes this $300.taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010239
If part of the amount you report is your child's qualified dividends, that part (which is reported on Form 1040, line 9b) generally does not count as investment income. However, you can choose to include all or part of it in investment income, as explained under Choosing to include qualified dividends
Your investment income also includes the amount on Form 8814, line 12 (or, if applicable, the reduced amount figured next under Child's Alaska Permanent Fund dividends).taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010240
If part of the amount you report is your child's Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, that part does not count as investment income. To figure the amount of your child's income that you can consider your investment income, start with the amount on Form 8814, line 6. Multiply that amount by a percentage that is equal to the Alaska Permanent Fund dividends divided by the total amount on Form 8814, line 4. Subtract the result from the amount on Form 8814, line 12. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010241
Your 10-year-old child has taxable interest income of $4,000 and Alaska Permanent Fund dividends of $2,000. You choose to report this on your return. You enter $4,000 on Form 8814, line 1a, $2,000 on line 2a, and $6,000 on line 4. You then enter $4,100 on Form 8814, lines 6 and 12, and Form 1040, line 21. You figure the amount of your child's income that you can consider your investment income as follows:
|$4,100 − ($4,100 × ($2,000 ÷ $6,000))|
You include the result, $2,733, on Form 4952, line 4a.
If part of the amount you report is your child's capital gain distributions, that part (which is reported on Schedule D, line 13, or Form 1040, line 13) generally does not count as investment income. However, you can choose to include all or part of it in investment income, as explained in Choosing to include net capital gain, earlier.
Your investment income also includes the amount on Form 8814, line 12 (or, if applicable, the reduced amount figured under Child's Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, earlier).taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010243
Investment expenses are your allowed deductions (other than interest expense) directly connected with the production of investment income. Investment expenses that are included as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on schedule A (Form 1040) are allowable deductions after applying the 2% limit that applies to miscellaneous itemized deductions. Use the smaller of:
- The investment expenses included on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 23, or
- The amount on Schedule A, line 27.
See Expenses of Producing Income
, later, for a discussion of the 2% limit.
Income or expenses that you used in computing income or loss from a passive activity are not included in determining your investment income or investment expenses (including investment interest expense). See Publication 925 for information about passive activities. taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010245
Ted is a partner in a partnership that operates a business. However, he does not materially participate in the partnership's business. Ted's interest in the partnership is considered a passive activity.
Ted's investment income from interest and dividends (other than qualified dividends) is $10,000. His investment expenses (other than interest) are $3,200 after taking into account the 2% limit on miscellaneous itemized deductions. His investment interest expense is $8,000. Ted also has income from the partnership of $2,000.
Ted figures his net investment income and the limit on his investment interest expense deduction in the following way:
|Total investment income||$10,000|
|Minus: Investment expenses (other than interest)|| 3,200 |
|Net investment income|| $6,800 |
|Deductible investment interest expense for the year|| $6,800 |
The $2,000 of income from the passive activity is not used in determining Ted's net investment income. His investment interest deduction for the year is limited to $6,800, the amount of his net investment income.taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010246
Use Form 4952, Investment Interest Expense Deduction, to figure your deduction for investment interest.taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010247
Jane Smith is single. Her 2009 income includes $3,000 in dividends (other than qualified dividends) and a net capital gain of $9,000 from the sale of investment property. She also has a gain of $1,000 from the sale of a painting given to her by an artist friend. The painting is not a capital asset because Jane's basis in the painting is determined by reference to her friend's basis in the painting. She incurred $12,500 of investment interest expense. Her other investment expenses directly connected with the production of investment income total $980 after applying the 2% limit on miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040).
For 2009, Jane chooses to include all of her net capital gain in investment income. Her total investment income is $13,000 ($3,000 dividends + $9,000 net capital gain + $1,000 from the sale of the painting). Her net investment income is $12,020 ($13,000 total investment income − $980 other investment expenses).
Jane's Form 4952 is illustrated, later. Her investment interest expense deduction is limited to $12,020, the amount of her net investment income. The $480 disallowed investment interest expense is carried forward to 2010.taxmap/pubs/p550-014.htm#en_us_publink100010248
You do not have to complete Form 4952 or attach it to your return if you meet all of the following tests.
- Your investment interest expense is not more than your investment income from interest and ordinary dividends minus any qualified dividends.
- You do not have any other deductible investment expenses.
- You have no carryover of investment interest expense from 2008.
If you meet all of these tests, you can deduct all of your investment interest.