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  1. Theoretically, the cost of renting a safe deposit box IS deductable on federal taxes "if the box is used for storing stocks,bonds, or investment-related papers and documents." Does anyone know how broadly "investment-related documents" is interpreted? In specific, if I use the box to store a digital backup of my financial records including those of my taxable investments, would that qualify?

  2. Theoretically, the cost of renting a safe deposit box is NOT deductable on federal taxes if it was used to store "jewelry or other personal items" or "tax-exempt, as opposed to taxable, securities." Is there an implied "only" in there -- ie, if the box contained both the financial records and something else, would that still qualify?

  3. If both the above are true... then renting a safe deposit box to store a complete backup of the system which includes the financial records ought to be deductable. Right? (Left? Three?)

Not an immediate issue, just planning ahead. If I can deduct the box for my personal offsite backup, that'd be cool.

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  • Sigh. Just had to remind myself of this. Oh well, looks like los Federales owe me money this year anyway.
    – keshlam
    Mar 2, 2023 at 3:58

2 Answers 2

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In specific, if I use the box to store a digital backup of my financial records including those of my taxable investments, would that qualify?

No. Long time ago stock ownership came in certificates which were printed on paper and you had to safeguard them. Bonds were also pieces of paper and paid to whoever presented the paper. Keeping them in a safe was a necessary precaution to not lose your investment. This is not the case with your backups of financial records. It's a good precaution, but not a necessary one due to the nature of the asset you own, like with the anonymous bonds or stock certificates.

I doubt there's anything you can store there that can justify the safe as an investment expense nowadays, unless maybe you fill it with gold bulions.

  • ie, if the box contained both the financial records and something else, would that still qualify?

No. This points out that you can't take a tax benefit when you don't have a tax liability.

If both the above are true... then renting a safe deposit box to store a complete backup of the system which includes the financial records ought to be deductable. Right? (Left? Three?)

Neither is true, as you can see.

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  • I'd appreciate the downvoters to leave comments
    – littleadv
    Feb 2, 2022 at 18:01
  • Not the answer I wanted, but the answer I expected... Thanks! (I got rid of my one physical stock certificate years ago.)
    – keshlam
    Feb 3, 2022 at 0:57
  • In the US, I believe, bearer bonds haven't been in use for decades now so shouldn't be a lot of them left (although there are probably some lying around in forgotten safe deposit boxes)
    – littleadv
    Feb 3, 2022 at 1:31
  • The fact that downvoters aren't at least encouraged to explain their objection has long struck me as one of SE's weak points...but the folks on Meta seemed to feel it needed to stay that way, and since I'm mostly off SE these days I'm not going to bring it up again.
    – keshlam
    Feb 3, 2022 at 21:17
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From IRS pub 529 Miscellaneous Deductions:

Safe Deposit Box Rent

Rent you pay for a safe deposit box you use to store taxable income-producing stocks, bonds, or investment related papers is a miscellaneous itemized deduction and can no longer be deducted. You also can't deduct the rent if you use the box for jewelry, other personal items, or tax-exempt securities.

The tax code changes in late 2017 eliminated the miscellaneous deductions. Even it it hadn't I believe that you needed your total miscellaneous deductions to exceed 2% of AGI. I don't think that very many people made the threshold.

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  • I believe that was temporary and (as of now) would revert back at 2026
    – littleadv
    Feb 2, 2022 at 16:40
  • This year's H&R Block tax prep software listed this as one of the misc. deductions, which is what started me wondering. They might just be throwing it away in the calculations, of course.
    – keshlam
    Feb 3, 2022 at 1:02

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