Personal or investment-related legal fees are not deductible starting in 2018 through 2025, subject to a few exceptions. In the past, these fees could be deductible as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. However, the TCJA eliminated these deductions for 2018 through 2025.
Examples of attorney fees you may not deduct include fees for:
- lawsuits related to your work as an employee--for example, you can't deduct attorney fees you personally pay to present or defend a lawsuit filed on work-related matters, such as an unlawful discrimination claim filed against a former employer that fired you.
- filing and winning a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death action (but the money you win isn't taxable)
- estate tax planning or settling a will or probate matter between your family members
- help in closing the purchase of your home or resolving title issues or disputes (these fees are added to your home’s tax basis)
- obtaining custody of a child or child support
- name changes
- legal defense in a civil lawsuit or criminal case—for example, attorney fees you pay to defend a drunk driving charge or against a neighbor's claim that your dog bit and injured her child
- tax advice during a divorce case, and
- attempting to get an ex-spouse to pay past-due alimony.