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What is the Tax Write Off for Margin Interest?

May 23, 2023

Taxpayers, wondering if you can deduct margin interest on your 1040? Find out here.

*Editor’s Note- This blog has been updated as of May 23, 2023 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Can you deduct margin interest on your tax return? Yes! Here are the details.

What is margin interest?

Margin interest is a type of investment interest expense, in other words any amount of interest that is paid on loan proceeds used to purchase investments or securities. (Check out our blog, The Investment Interest Expense Deduction) Just like a bank can lend you money if you have equity in your home, a brokerage firm can lend you money against the value of certain stocks, bonds and mutual funds. The borrowed money is referred to as a “margin loan”. With a margin loan, you can purchase additional securities to meet short term financial needs.

What is the margin interest tax write-off?

You can deduct investment interest expense up to the amount of your net taxable investment income.

There are a few qualifications, though.

To be eligible, you must be an investor who borrows money to buy investments, and receives interest, dividends, capital gains, royalties, or other investment income. Also, you must itemize your deductions on schedule A.

You can only take the deduction up to the amount of your net investment income. Any disallowed deduction will be carried over for future use. To calculate your approximate net investment income, you can use the following formula:

Taxable Interest + Ordinary Dividends + Royalties + Short-term portion of Net Capital Gains

- (Other Deductible Investment-related Expenses)

= Net investment Income

Margin interest will still be deductible for tax year 2023 as an itemized deduction on Schedule A. However, the standard deduction has increased, meaning most taxpayers will not be itemizing deductions since claiming the standard deduction will prove more tax-efficient in many cases.

We can help you evaluate the tax costs and benefits of these investments.

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