Tue. May 30th, 2023

How Investment Expenses Affect How Much Money You Can Earn

If you have a financial goal, such as saving for retirement or buying a home, investing your money is an excellent way to get there. But it’s important to choose the right investments.

Fortunately, the IRS allows tax deductions for certain investment expenses. But how do you know what’s deductible and what’s not?


Expenses are a necessary part of running an investment portfolio. They cover costs associated with account administration, investment product management and transactions made on your behalf. Whether you are just getting started or have been making regular contributions to your investment portfolio, fees and other expenses can impact how much money you can earn over time.

Some of these fees are deductible on your tax return. If you’re looking for the most benefit from them, it’s a good idea to speak with a tax professional who can help you determine which expenses are deductible and which ones aren’t.

Fees are typically expressed as a percentage of your investment assets, deducted annually. They may be higher for more expensive funds, but they can also be lower for less costly products that don’t require human involvement or have lower management costs.

You’ll find fee information in your registered investment adviser’s charges and compensation report. It’s a must-read for any investor because it covers fees and commissions paid to the fund group, investment advisor and other third parties. It’s also a great way to compare fees and costs for different investment products.

The fees that you pay to your investment adviser, and the fees your investment firm charges, can make a significant difference in the returns you earn on your investments. And the more you understand about these fees, the better you can decide which type of investment is right for your financial plan.

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One of the most common fees that investors face is the management fee charged by their adviser or investment firm. This fee is usually negotiated at the beginning of your relationship and is based on a percentage of your portfolio’s value.

Another common fee is the expense ratio of a mutual fund or ETF. This standardized measurement helps to keep the fund transparent and is included in the official documents of the product, including its prospectus or key investor information document.

Fees and other investment expenses are not deductible if they are related to non-registered accounts, such as TFSAs or RRSPs. For this reason, it’s a good idea to pay those fees outside of your registered accounts if you can afford to do so. This will allow you to maximize your tax-free savings by avoiding any potential reduction in your after-tax returns due to the fees.


Investment expenses include a wide range of items that investors must pay to maintain their portfolios, from recurring investment advice fees and brokerage commissions to state and local transfer taxes. Some of these can be deductible, while others must be added to the cost basis of the investments they hold.

Taxes and other taxes related to investment expenses are a key component of any investor’s budget, since they can have a significant impact on the overall bottom line. As a result, it’s important to understand how these costs are deductible or not.

Whether or not an expense is deductible depends on a number of factors, including its nature, the amount spent and how it relates to your business. For example, if you buy a home office to run your investment business, the IRS will treat it as a trade or business expense and allow you to deduct it from your income.

However, if you use your home to do other things – such as watch television or read books – the IRS will not treat it as an investment expense and you won’t be able to deduct it from your income. You also won’t be able to deduct home office rent, although it can be considered business rental property if you rent out the space exclusively.

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The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) removed most miscellaneous itemized deductions, such as these investment-related expenses, for the tax years 2018 to 2025. That means that investors who use their own tax software or pay an accountant to prepare their returns must carefully check which of these expenses are deductible and what they’re not.

For many investors, the loss of this tax break can be a real blow, especially if they pay high-fees for investment management or have state taxes passed through to them. It’s best to review your current investment portfolio and consider options that are more affordable, such as index funds or robo-advisors.

Lastly, the TCJA also limited the amount of interest you can deduct to your net investment income. Net investment income is the excess of your ordinary dividends and interest income over your other investment expenses.


Interest is the monetary charge for borrowing money, generally expressed as an annual percentage rate (APR). It may also be called “interest income,” or “interest expense.” A lender charges interest when they lend out funds to a borrower.

Interest is paid to borrowers in various ways, including mortgages, credit cards, personal loans and other types of loans. It provides an incentive for lenders to extend more funds to their customers than they otherwise would.

A business interest expense is deductible if it meets general requirements for a business expense. It must be both necessary and ordinary. It must be incurred to conduct business, and it must have a reasonable and proximate relation to the production or collection of income or to the management of property held for the purposes of a business.

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Investment interest expenses are deductible in some circumstances, but not when used for passive ventures. A common example is a margin loan taken out with a brokerage to purchase stock.

Other investment expenses include the indemnity bond premium you might pay to replace lost or missing securities. Some are deductible, while others must be added to the investment’s tax basis in order to reduce your capital gains when you sell them.

Often, investors find that they do better when they have lower investment costs. Some of these costs are hidden, but they affect your return.

Some of these expenses can be deductible, such as the fees you pay to an investment advisor or for money management services. Others are not deductible, but must be added to the investment’s tax base, such as the brokerage commissions and transfer taxes you might pay to sell your investments.

The key is to keep a close eye on your expenses, because even a small amount of extra money you lose due to these costs can compound. When you invest, you want to be sure that you’re not overpaying for anything, and you want to avoid investing in investments with high expenses.

Jeffrey Augers
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By Jeffrey Augers

Jeffrey Augers is a highly skilled and experienced financial analyst with over 12 years of experience in the finance industry. He has a proven track record of delivering exceptional financial insights and recommendations to clients, empowering them to make informed decisions and achieve their financial goals. Jeffrey holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.