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Publication 550

Chapter 3
Investment Expenses(p31)

For Use in Tax Year 2015

Words you may need to know (see Glossary)


Useful items

You may want to see:

 535 Business Expenses
 925 Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules
 929 Tax Rules for Children and Dependents
Form (and Instructions)
 Schedule A (Form 1040) : Itemized Deductions
 4952: Investment Interest Expense Deduction
See chapter 5, How To Get Tax Help, for information about getting these publications and forms.

Limits on Deductions(p31)

For Use in Tax Year 2015
Your deductions for investment expenses may be limited by:
The at-risk rules and passive activity rules are explained briefly in this section. The limit on investment interest is explained later in this chapter under Interest Expenses. The 2% limit is explained later in this chapter under Expenses of Producing Income.

At-risk rules.(p31)

For Use in Tax Year 2015
Special at-risk rules apply to most income-producing activities. These rules limit the amount of loss you can deduct to the amount you risk losing in the activity. Generally, this is the cash and the adjusted basis of property you contribute to the activity. It also includes money you borrow for use in the activity if you are personally liable for repayment or if you use property not used in the activity as security for the loan. For more information, see Pub. 925.

Passive activity losses and credits.(p31)

For Use in Tax Year 2015
The amount of losses and tax credits you can claim from passive activities is limited. Generally, you are allowed to deduct passive activity losses only up to the amount of your passive activity income. Also, you can use credits from passive activities only against tax on the income from passive activities. There are exceptions for certain activities, such as rental real estate activities.
Passive activity.(p31)
A passive activity generally is any activity involving the conduct of any trade or business in which you do not materially participate and any rental activity. However, if you are involved in renting real estate, the activity is not a passive activity if both of the following are true.
The term "trade or business" generally means any activity that involves the conduct of a trade or business, is conducted in anticipation of starting a trade or business, or involves certain research or experimental expenditures. However, it does not include rental activities or certain activities treated as incidental to holding property for investment.
You are considered to materially participate in an activity if you are involved on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis in the operations of the activity.
Other income (nonpassive income).(p31)
Generally, you can use losses from passive activities only to offset income from passive activities. You cannot use passive activity losses to offset your other income, such as your wages or your portfolio income. Portfolio income includes gross income from interest, dividends, annuities, or royalties that is not derived in the ordinary course of a trade or business. It also includes gains or losses (not derived in the ordinary course of a trade or business) from the sale or trade of property (other than an interest in a passive activity) producing portfolio income or held for investment. This includes capital gain distributions from mutual funds (and other regulated investment companies) and real estate investment trusts.
You cannot use passive activity losses to offset Alaska Permanent Fund dividends.
Do not include in the computation of your passive activity income or loss: However, this interest and other expenses may be subject to other limits. These limits are explained in the rest of this chapter.
Additional information.(p32)
For more information about determining and reporting income and losses from passive activities, see Pub. 925.