If you trade on margin you pay interest on the funds borrowed to buy securities. Because the interest is
DIRECTLY TRACEABLE to the purchase of securities it is deductible as investment interest. Because
margin interest occurs in your investment account it is presumed to be generated by borrowing for
Payments in Lieu (PIL) Paid
Payments in Lieu of dividends or interest, or PIL, that you pay to the lenders of securities when you sell
short in your own account are also considered to be investment interest. Obviously, the direct
connection to an investment exists as the payment is meant to replace either a dividend or interest
payment that the securities lender lost by loaning the holding.
Investment interest expense is an itemized deduction. If you are a taxpayer who does not itemize then
there is no deduction. Investment interest paid – including PIL – is not directly deductible against interest
or dividends. Additionally, the deduction is limited to the amount of investment income. Use Form 4952
to calculate the deduction.
Be aware of the words DIRECTLY TRACEABLE. Funds can be borrowed from other sources (home equity,
etc.) to make investments and be deductible as investment interest expense. Any borrowings must be
invested without any diversion directly into an investment.
Prior to the 2017 tax act all investment expenses – other than investment interest – were considered to
be miscellaneous itemized deductions. These expenses were subject to the usual limitations on
miscellaneous itemized deductions; the amount deductible had to exceed 2% of AGI and you had to be
itemizing on your return rather than taking the standard deduction. The 2017 tax act eliminated all
itemized deductions so at this time none of these fees are deductible for investors. If you are taking the
position that you are a trader, then the circumstances change. That is the subject of the next module.
Disclosure: Interactive Brokers
The analysis in this material is provided for information only and is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad-based economic or political conditions, it should not be construed as research or investment advice. To the extent that it includes references to specific securities, commodities, currencies, or other instruments, those references do not constitute a recommendation by IBKR to buy, sell or hold such investments. This material does not and is not intended to take into account the particular financial conditions, investment objectives or requirements of individual customers. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interactive Brokers, its affiliates, or its employees.
Disclosure: Tax-Related Items (Circular 230 Notice)
The information in this material is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute tax advice and cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer to avoid penalties under any federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, or to resolve any tax issue.