16 Non-Deductible Expenses in Your Business

Non-deductible expenses are costs that do not contribute to a business’s tax liability. This is because these types of expenses can’t be subtracted from the gross income base.

For example, you can’t deduct the cost of land or legal fees from your taxes. But, you can deduct some business insurance premiums, depending on the state you live in.

The IRS allows deductions for some employees’ recreational activities. However, you can’t deduct a fancy suit or branded uniform.

In addition, there are many other things to keep in mind when it comes to tax-deductible expenses. You must be aware of the fact that the tax code is complex. Moreover, it changes frequently, and even a simple provision can have a variety of intricacies.

So, when it comes to determining which expenses are deductible and which aren’t, you should follow either a policy guide or our research guide. Some of the most common non-deductible expenses include entertainment, fines, and parking tickets.

Let’s get to know about the expenses that are non-deductible because, most of the time, it tends to change from country to state. 

Differences Between Deductible and Non-Deductible Business Expenses

If you own a business, you may wonder what the differences are between deductible and non-deductible expenses. The main difference is that you can deduct the deductible expense if you file your taxes on your own. 

On the other hand, you can’t deduct a non-deductible expense if you file your taxes on someone else’s tax return. 

But, how do you know what is a deductible expense and what isn’t?

What is a Non-Deductible Expense in Business?

If you have a small business, you might be wondering whether or not you can claim deductions on your tax return. The IRS publishes guidance on what are considered non-deductible expenses.

Non-deductible business expenses are items that are not directly related to the business or are not necessary. Generally, the government will not charge taxes on these expenses. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.

Some of the most common examples include employee wages, political contributions, and fines. These are explicitly made non-deductible in the tax code.

Other such expenses include entertainment and travel. Business owners may be able to deduct some of these costs depending on their budget.

For instance, if you own a gym and attend weekly classes, you may be able to deduct some of the cost. Likewise, you can deduct the cost of some of the insurance you pay for your business.

How to determine which expenses are Deductible and Non-deductible?

The IRS provides guidance on the taxation of these types of expenditures. However, it is important to note that some costs are never deductible for federal tax purposes.

Some of the most common deductible expenses include mortgage interest payments, charitable contributions, state and local tax payments, and out-of-pocket medical expenses. Other deductible expenses include depreciation, asset taxes, and interest.

To determine if you have a deductible expense, you can check with the IRS or a professional accountant. Deductible expenses are those that are necessary for the operation of your business. They can be subtracted from your gross income.

Non-deductible expenses are those that are not necessary for the operation of your business. These are usually personal or professional expenses. For example, you cannot deduct costs for travel to and from your workplace.

16 Common Non-deductible Expenses in Business

You know that you can deduct some of your business expenses on your tax return. But, do you have an idea of which are deductible and which are not? In order to avoid paying a hefty sum of money in taxes, you’ll need to know which business expenses you can claim and which are best left to your accountant.

You must also understand that running a business comes with various expenses. Thus, knowing what you can and cannot deduct is essential to ensure that you’re not leaving money on the table. 

Here are 16 common examples of non-deductible expenses in business:

1. Home office furniture and equipment

Upgrading your home office is always a nice feeling. However, the costs associated with it are not tax deductible.

2. Business travel expenses for conventions and seminars

If you attend industry events to stay competitive in your field, unfortunately, these expenses are non-deductible as well.

3. Personal entertainment expenses

Meals, tickets to shows, and other recreational activities are not deductible if they’re related to your personal pleasure.

4. Professional education for employees

Even though employee training is beneficial for the business, the costs associated with it account to non-deductible expenses.

5. Advertising directed to a particular person or company

You can’t deduct money spent on marketing to a single customer or potential client.

6. Premiums for life insurance policies

Any life insurance premiums that you’re paying for yourself, your family members, or your employees are not tax-deductible.

7. Fines and penalties

You can’t deduct any fines or penalties imposed by law, either federal or state.

8. Charitable contributions

Even though you may be donating money to a worthy cause, the contributions are not tax-deductible.

9. Business acquisition costs

Any costs associated with purchasing an existing business are also listed under non-deductible.

10. Interest expense on personal loans

The interest is not tax-deductible if you use a personal loan to purchase business assets.

Any expenses related to legal advice or consulting that are unrelated to your business are also not deductible. 

12. Bank charges

The cost of bank fees is not tax-deductible, including any overdraft or ATM fees you may incur.

13. Losses due to embezzlement or theft

If there is any kind of loss as a result of employee theft, then it accounts for the non-deductible list.

14. Political contributions

If you are making any contributions to political parties and candidates, then it is considered to be not tax-deductible.

15. Losses due to casualty or theft

It also comes under non-deductible rules if you suffer a loss as a result of fire, flood, or other disasters.

16. Personal property taxes

If you are paying property taxes on items that are considered to be of personal use, then they are not tax-deductible.

It’s important to note that there may be additional non-deductible expenses in business depending upon your local laws and regulations. This also helps in wealthy management in the long run. Moreover, always check with a tax expert or accountant before making any financial decisions regarding your business. 


You might also be able to deduct certain business-related gifts. These can be a nice touch to show your appreciation for a customer or client. However, there’s no need to overspend on your business’s taxes. If you do, you could end up facing a tax audit or penalties.

Keep in mind that some businesses and states do not allow deductions for small amounts of federal income tax. It’s always a good idea to consult your accountant for more details.

To get the most out of your tax return, you need to know what expenses are deductible and what isn’t. Keeping track of your expenses and itemizing them can help you avoid overspending and overpaying.

Moreover, knowing what is and isn’t deductible can help you maximize profits, minimize taxes, and make the most of your hard-earned money.

Leave a Comment