Before filing your annual tax return, you should always go over what deductions and tax credits you may qualify for. There’s a good chance you incurred a few legal fees while acquiring your investment property or due to other business-related matters. If you sustained legal fees for your investment property, they may be tax-deductible.
Attorney fees aren’t cheap; but luckily, you might be able to offset that cost by taking a tax deduction. Legal fees are tax-deductible for investment property if the legal fees were incurred for business matters. To be eligible for this write-off, legal fees must be directly related to business operations or part of your acquisition costs.
Business-related legal fees are tax-deductible for investment property
Legal fees are sometimes necessary expenses when it comes to managing your investment property, and that cost can sometimes be tax-deductible as a business operating expense. Here are a few legal fees and expenses that may be tax-deductible for your investment property.
Legal fees are seen as a necessary business expense and can be tax-deductible. You can deduct legal fees for:
- Lawyer fees, court expenses, and other similar costs if these are sustained during the production or collection of taxable income
- Defending against trademark, copyright, or patent claims
- Tax advice and preparation
- Legal fees incurred while going through bankruptcy
- Negotiating or drafting contracts for business activities
- Defending and filing expenses over a business-related claim
- Insurance claims related to business
- Licensing fees
Rental property activity
You can deduct legal fees related to rental activity if it qualifies as a business. For example, If you needed to evict a tenant and hired an attorney, those fees are tax-deductible. However, landlords cannot deduct legal fees from defending the title of the property, recovering property, or to develop or improve the property. These are instead added to the property’s basis.
If you have legal fees from starting a business as an LLC or a corporation, the cost is deductible up to $5,000. Anything over that amount can be deducted within the first 60 months of starting your business.
Legal fees from acquiring property are not instantly tax-deductible. The amount is added to the cost basis of the investment property and deducted through depreciation.
Personal and investment-related legal fees aren't tax deductible
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated personal and investment-related legal fee tax-deductions. According to the IRS, “investment fees, custodial fees, trust administration fees, and other expenses you paid for managing your investments that produce taxable income are miscellaneous itemized deductions and are no longer deductible.” These deductions have been eliminated for 2018 through 2025.
Legal fees for your investment property must be business related to be tax deductible. If you have any questions about what legal fees are tax-deductible, consult a tax professional or ask your attorney to provide a billing statement showing what part of their fees are tax-deductible.