Tax Expenses - Nondeductible Expenses, Deductions That Don't Qualify

It is frequently unclear whether a certain tax expense might qualify as a tax deduction or not. And if you deduct an expense that doesn't qualify, you might be faced with a tax notice or tax audit.

Fortunately, there are many deductable tax expenses that exist, so you may be surprised that your tax expense of choice qualifies for a tax deduction.

Here we present a list of tax expenses that are most likely nondeductible on a federal and/or state income tax return. Below the list, you can find links to more information about tax deductions.

List of Nondeductible (not deductible) Expenses - Deductions You Can't Claim

Here is an updated list of expenses that the IRS generally considers nondeductible:

  • Adoption expenses (but they might qualify you for the Adoption Tax Credit)
  • Broker's commissions for IRA or other investment property
  • Burial, funeral, and cemetery expenses
  • Campaign expenses
  • Capital expenses (but you can depreciate business property)
  • Check-writing fees (non-business)
  • Club dues
  • Commuting expenses (but you could get these from your employer as tax free income)
  • Credit card fees (non-business)
  • Expenses of earning or collecting nontaxable income
  • Fees and licenses
  • Federal income taxes
  • Federal estate taxes
  • Fines and penalties
  • Gift taxes
  • Health spa expenses
  • Hobby losses
  • Homeowner's or renter's insurance
  • Home repairs
  • Home security system (unless you have a home office)
  • Illegal bribes and kickbacks
  • Investment seminar and convention expenses 
  • Legal fees and expenses (non-business)
  • Licenses (marriage, driver's, etc.)
  • Life insurance premiums (unless part of an alimony payment)
  • Lobbying expenses (and charitable contributions used for lobbying expenses)
  • Losses from the sale of your home, furniture, car, or other personal property
  • Lost or misplaced cash or property
  • Lost vacation time
  • Lunches with co-workers
  • Meals while working late (unless they are business entertainment expenses)
  • Medical expenses claimed as business expenses (except for medical exams required by your employer)
  • Membership dues (not including professional societies)
  • Personal disability insurance premiums
  • Personal, living, and family expenses
  • Pet tags and registration fees
  • Political contributions
  • Professional certification, accreditation, and licensing fees
  • Professional reputation improvement expenses
  • Relief fund contributions
  • Rent payments
  • Residential telephone service
  • Stockholders' meeting attendance expenses
  • Tax penalty payments
  • Travel expenses for another person
  • Voluntary unemployment benefit fund contributions
  • Wages never received
  • Wristwatches (even if related to a job requirement)

Now that you aware of expenses that do not qualify as tax deductions, check out our list of tax expenses that might qualify as tax deductions.

If there is a tax expense that may not fall into a particular category, we also have additional details about miscellaneous deductions.