Are Tax Preparation Fees Tax Deductible?

Updated on January 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspended the deduction for tax preparation fees for individuals.
  • Self-employed individuals and business owners may still be able to deduct tax preparation fees.
  • Rental property owners and estates/trusts may also have deductions for tax preparation fees.
  • Consider other tax strategies to maximize deductions in the absence of the tax preparation fee deduction.

For many taxpayers, the cost of professional tax preparation services is a necessary expense to ensure compliance with complex tax laws. Prior to 2018, it was often possible to deduct tax preparation fees as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on your federal income tax return. However, due to changes in tax law brought about by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the deductibility of these fees has significantly altered. In this article, we discuss the current IRS rules regarding the tax deductibility of tax preparation fees.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and Deductibility

The TCJA, enacted in December 2017, suspended the deduction for miscellaneous itemized deductions that exceed 2% of a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income for tax years 2018 through 2025. This suspension includes the deduction for tax preparation fees.

What This Means for Taxpayers

Because of the TCJA:

  • Individual taxpayers can no longer deduct expenses related to tax preparation on their federal income tax returns.
  • This includes the cost of tax preparation software, hiring a tax professional, or fees associated with electronic filing.

Exceptions and Special Considerations

Despite the elimination of the deduction for individuals, there are certain situations where tax preparation fees may still be deductible:

  • Self-Employed and Business Owners: If you are self-employed or a business owner, tax preparation fees that are directly related to your business may be deductible as a business expense. These can be claimed on Schedule C (Form 1040) or the appropriate business tax return.
  • Rental Property Owners: If you own rental properties, you may be able to deduct the portion of your tax preparation fees related to the rental activity on Schedule E (Form 1040).
  • Estates and Trusts: Estates and trusts can deduct tax preparation fees on Form 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts.
  • State and Local Tax Deductibility: Certain states may allow deductions for tax preparation fees on state income tax returns, even if such fees are not deductible at the federal level.

Planning and Strategies

Without the federal deduction for tax preparation fees, taxpayers may want to consider other tax strategies, such as:

  • Maximizing contributions to retirement accounts that offer tax deductions.
  • Leveraging education-related tax credits, if applicable.
  • Reviewing state tax codes for potential deductibility of tax preparation fees.

Final Thoughts

The deduction for tax preparation fees for individual taxpayers has been suspended under current federal tax law. While this change reduces the potential for itemized deductions, understanding the overall impact of the TCJA on your tax situation is critical. This includes evaluating the increased standard deduction and other tax reform changes that may alleviate the need for miscellaneous deductions.

For the most current information regarding the deductibility of tax preparation fees and other expenses, it’s advisable to visit the IRS website or consult with a tax professional. Additionally, USA.gov’s Taxes section provides helpful resources for navigating the tax season effectively.

While individual taxpayers may have to adjust to new limitations, those with business or rental activities should continue to scrutinize their expenses to identify deductible tax preparation costs accurately. Keep accurate records and continue to seek tax-saving opportunities within the current framework of tax law.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are tax preparation fees tax deductible for individuals?

No, under the current federal tax law, tax preparation fees are not deductible for individuals.

Can self-employed individuals deduct tax preparation fees?

Yes, self-employed individuals can deduct tax preparation fees that are directly related to their business as a business expense.

Are tax preparation fees deductible for rental property owners?

Yes, rental property owners may be able to deduct the portion of their tax preparation fees that are related to the rental activity.

Can estates and trusts deduct tax preparation fees?

Yes, estates and trusts can deduct tax preparation fees on Form 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts.

Are there any exceptions to the deduction suspension for individuals?

Yes, certain states may allow deductions for tax preparation fees on state income tax returns, even if they are not deductible at the federal level.

What should individuals consider without the deduction for tax preparation fees?

Individuals may want to consider other tax strategies, such as maximizing contributions to retirement accounts and leveraging education-related tax credits.

Is there any resource to obtain the most current information on tax deductions?

For the most current information, it is advisable to visit the IRS website or consult with a tax professional.

What other tax reform changes should individuals be aware of?

Individuals should also evaluate the increased standard deduction and other tax reform changes that may affect their overall tax situation.

How can self-employed individuals claim tax preparation fees as a business expense?

Self-employed individuals can claim tax preparation fees on Schedule C (Form 1040) or the appropriate business tax return.

Where can individuals find helpful resources for navigating the tax season?

USA.gov‘s Taxes section provides helpful resources for navigating the tax season effectively.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.