Form 4952 instructions: investment interest deduction

Ines Zemelman, EA
Ines Zemelman, EA
• 27.03.24 • 5 min read
Form 4952 instructions: investment interest deduction

The baseline rule is not to claim a tax deduction for investment expenses and fees – generally, investment expenses are not tax deductible. Such expenses include managing your stock or bond portfolios and broker or custodial fees. 

One exception from this rule is the investment interest expense deduction. You can get a tax break if you borrow money to purchase an investment. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows certain taxpayers to deduct the interest expense on loans using Form 4952, Investment Interest Expense Deduction. 

This article discusses the rules for claiming an investment interest expense deduction and provides detailed instructions for filing the IRS Form 4952. 

What is investment interest expense?

Investment interest is the interest you pay or accumulate in a year on a loan related to your investments, such as loans used to purchase stocks, bonds, or other investment assets.

It doesn't matter when you took out the loan; the interest counts if it's related to your investments. In other words, the interest on loans taken out at any time, not just during the tax year, can be considered for deduction.

The IRS has different rules for different types of interest, such as investment, personal, business, or mortgage-related. If you pay or accrue interest on a loan and use the proceeds for multiple purposes, you may have to allocate the interest to ensure you use the correct interest rule.

What investment interest expenses qualify for a deduction?

Suppose you borrow money and use it to invest. In that case, you can deduct the interest on that loan as investment interest expense. The interest must be paid on debt used to purchase property held for investment. It must not be used for personal or business expenses.

Interest income may result from money borrowed specifically to purchase:

  • taxable bonds
  • stocks
  • land
  • investment property

What does not qualify for an investment interest expense deduction?

Certain types of interest expenses are not eligible for the investment interest expense deduction. 

They include:

  • interest used to generate tax-exempt income
  • home mortgage interest
  • interest on loans used for passive activities, i.e., rental properties or partnerships
  • interest expenses that are capitalized, i.e., construction interest

Mortgage interest may be deductible under other provisions of the tax code. Home mortgage interest deductions are claimed separately under the rules for qualified residence interest.

Form 4952: Who must file it for an investment interest expenses deduction?

If you are an individual, estate, or trust, you must file Form 4952 to claim a deduction for your investment interest expense on your tax return. 

You must offset investment expense against net investment income for a given tax year. Net investment income comprises several categories of revenue generated from investments, including interest, dividends, capital gains, rental and royalty income, and other types of investment-related income.


You can only deduct investment interest expenses up to the amount of your net investment income. If investment expense exceeds net investment income, the balance is carried forward to the following year. However, the same restrictions will apply.

You do not have to file this form if all the following apply: 

  1. Your investment income from interest in ordinary dividends minus qualified dividends is more than your investment interest expense.
  2. You do not have any other deductible investment expenses.
  3. You do not have any carryover of disallowed investment interest expense from the previous tax year.

Understanding how Form 4952 interacts with other tax forms is essential, especially for small business owners with complex financial situations involving business and investment activities.

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) 

The AMT is a separate tax system that limits certain tax benefits, including deducting investment interest expenses. 

Taxpayers subject to the AMT must calculate their tax liability using the regular and the AMT systems and pay the higher amounts. Investment interest expenses are one of the deductions disallowed under the AMT.

Form 4952 instructions

You can claim a deduction for investment interest on Schedule A along with your other itemized deductions. 

To deduct investment interest, you must file Form 4952 with your return. It is a one-page tax form with three parts. 

Intro: Add the name shown on your return and your ID number.

Part I (Total Investment Interest Expense): Review your financial records for the year and calculate the total interest you paid on loans used for investments like stocks or bonds. Write this total amount in Part I of Form 4952.

Part II (Net Investment Income):

  1. Add up all the income you earned from your investments during the year from dividends, interest, and capital gains.
  2. Subtract any investment expenses (except interest) from this total income to find your net investment income.
  3. Write the net investment income in Part II of Form 4952.

Example: If you earned $10,000 in dividends and $2,000 in interest from your investments and had $1,500 in investment expenses, your net investment income would be ($10,000 + $2,000)—$1,500 = $10,500.

Part III (Investment Interest Expense Deduction): Compare the total investment interest expense you wrote in Part I to your net investment income from Part II. If your total investment interest expense exceeds your net investment income, you can deduct the excess amount up to certain limits. Follow the instructions on the form to calculate your deduction and enter the result in Part III.

The IRS provides detailed instructions for completing Form 4952, including how to fill out each section and calculate the deduction for investment interest expenses.

Consult a TFX tax professional for advice on investment expenses, interest deductions, or help completing the IRS Form 4952. 


1. What is Form 4952 used for?

Form 4952 calculates the deduction for investment interest expenses paid on loans to purchase property held for investment. It helps taxpayers determine the amount of investment interest expense they can deduct for the current year and the amount they can carry forward to future years.

2. Who must file Form 4952?

Individuals who have paid interest on loans taken to purchase property held for investment, such as stocks or bonds, and small business owners who have borrowed money for investment purposes may need to file Form 4952 to deduct their investment interest expenses.

3. Are brokerage account management fees deductible on Form 4952?

No, brokerage account management fees are not deductible on Form 4952. While investment interest expenses, including margin interest, may be deductible, management fees are considered separate from interest expenses. They are not eligible for deduction on this form.

4. Are capital gains included on Form 4952?

Yes, capital gains are included in calculating net investment income on Form 4952. Net investment income includes interest, dividends, capital gains, and other income from investments. Capital gains are considered part of the taxpayer's overall investment income. They are included in the calculation to determine the deductible investment interest expense.

5. What investment expenses are deductible?

Deductible investment expenses include interest paid on loans used to purchase investments and other costs directly related to generating investment income. These expenses must meet specific criteria to be deductible, including being paid on debt used to buy property held for investment and not being used for personal or business expenses.

6. Is investment interest expense deductible?

Yes, investment interest expense is deductible on Form 4952, but it is limited to the amount of net investment income. Taxpayers can deduct investment interest expenses paid on loans used to purchase property held for investment, such as stocks or bonds. However, the deduction is limited to the amount of net investment income reported on the tax return. Any excess investment interest expenses can be carried forward to future years.

7. Is margin interest paid tax deductible?

Yes, margin interest paid is tax deductible as investment interest expense on Form 4952. Margin interest is paid on loans against the value of investments in a margin account. This interest is considered an investment interest expense. It is deductible on Form 4952, subject to certain limitations based on the amount of net investment income.

8. Is margin loan interest tax deductible?

Yes, interest paid on a margin loan used to purchase property held for investment is tax deductible as investment interest expense on Form 4952. A margin loan is taken against the value of assets in a margin account. The interest paid on this loan is considered an investment interest expense. It is deductible on Form 4952, subject to certain limitations based on the amount of net investment income.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Always consult with a tax professional regarding your specific case.