IRS Rules on Safety Deposit Box Fee Deductions

Rows of safety deposit boxes
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If you're seeking miscellaneous items for tax deduction purposes, consider the annual rental fee on your safety deposit box, more commonly known as a safe deposit box. Under certain circumstances, the Internal Revenue Service allows you to deduct the safe deposit box fee on your income tax returns. Whether or not the fee is deductible depends on what you store in the box.


Deductible and Non-deductible Items

As long as you store taxable items in your safe deposit box, you can deduct the annual fee on your tax return. These include documents relating to taxable investment income, along with actual taxable stock certificates or bonds. If you only store jewelry, cash and other valuables in the safe deposit box, the annual fee isn't deductible. That also holds true if you store documents relating to tax-exempt securities in the box. However, if you store both deductible and non-deductible items in your safe deposit box, you can take the deduction.


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Don't Mess with the IRS

Don't try taking the deduction if you don't qualify, figuring the IRS will never find out. While IRS representatives can't just show up at your bank and gain access to your box, they can serve a notice on the bank requiring "freezing" of the box. Then you must open your box in front of IRS representatives.