1040 tax form
1040 tax form

Over the course of a year, American consumers can rack up plenty of bank fees. A brief moment of forgetfulness can lead to account fees, late fees or penalty fees. Anyone who has been hit with one of these fees may have considered deducting them on their tax returns, which leads us to ask: which bank fees, if any, are tax deductible?

Unfortunately, most bank fees cannot be deducted on consumer tax returns,” said Lisa Ehrlich, a certified public accountant and accounting professor at Touro College.

There are two instances in which taxpayers can deduct a bank fee

1. When you withdraw funds from a certificate of deposit (CD) before it reaches maturity

The bank may impose an early withdrawal penalty, which is usually equivalent to several months worth of interest earnings. This penalty can be tax deducted.

2. The IRS will also allow you to deduct the rental costs of a safe deposit box

“if you use the box to store taxable income-producing stocks, bonds or investment-related papers and documents.” If the safe deposit box is used only to store jewelry, personal items or tax-exempt securities, the rental fees cannot be deducted.

Common banking fees such as monthly service fees, overdraft fees, check-writing fees and ATM fees are not tax-deductible on personal bank accounts.

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Better luck for self-employed

Businesses and self-employed individuals get better treatment when it comes to tax deductions.

“For businesses and the self-employed, most bank fees are considered operating expenses,” Ehrlich added. However, business owners and the self-employed must be sure to separate business bank accounts and personal bank accounts in addition to using the appropriate accounts for the appropriate transactions (business vs. personal). Otherwise, the IRS may not permit certain deductions if they are not deemed “ordinary and necessary.”

In the case Bailey v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1991-385, a small-business owner with more than $30,000 in overdraft charges could not prove that the overdraft fees were “ordinary and necessary,” and was not allowed to deduct them.

Whether you are a regular taxpayer, self-employed or a business owner, good recordkeeping makes the tax-filing process much easier. As always, consult a tax professional or financial advisor with specific questions regarding your tax situation.

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  • J

    I think if we paid taxes on that income then we should be able to deduct at least the amount of taxes we paid for those fees.

  • Older evangelical

    I agree. The system we live in penalizes the poor for being poor in my case. It is not a matter of liberals against conservatives, both sides fail miserably to help people in financial distress such as we are, We have sustained heavy financial blows through unexpected life threatening illnesses over the last few years and are fighting hard to recover but seem to be losing the battle with 3 children and parents living in a 2 bedroom apartment. Out of desparation we have somewhat kept going with going into overdraft each month. But this has reduced our net income considerably. All I can say is shame on the banks and lending institutions which practice USURY to ROB the poor who revert to being robbed because the system does not allow them to have a normal deal to help them out of the financial mire they find themselves in