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Nondeductible Tax Deductions, Expenses

Most folks are unclear whether a certain tax expense might qualify as a tax deduction or not. If you are unsure, and deduct an expense on your tax return that does not qualify, you might be faced with a tax notice or tax audit. Fortunately, there are many deductible tax expenses that exist, so you may be surprised that your tax expense of choice qualifies for a tax deduction.

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

Tax Deductions You Can Not Claim

Here are a 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.