Individual investors never get to write off seminar or convention costs related to investing. The IRS specifically rules this out in Publication 550. If you're an investment professional, you may be able to claim the seminar costs as a business expense. This only works if you're already in the game: education to qualify you for a new career is never tax deductible.

Continuing Education

As a business professional, you can write off the cost of work-related education -- whether it's a college course or a special seminar -- if the education is mandatory. If your stockbroker's license, for instance, requires continuing education, a seminar is a valid write-off. It's also deductible if your boss makes it a condition of keeping your job, provided that taking the class also serves "a bona fide business purpose."

Not Mandatory

If your classes aren't mandatory, you can still deduct the expenses if you're taking the courses to improve your current skills. A seminar on new legal requirements for brokers or fund managers would qualify, for instance. You can take up to a year away from your job for continuing education and still claim the write-off. If it's longer than a year, the IRS treats it as if you were starting a new job, and those expenses are not deductible.

Deductible Expenses

You can deduct the costs of seminars or college courses along with books, fees and the cost of transportation to class. There's no deduction for expenses your company reimburses you for, even if you turn down the reimbursement. Out-of-town trips are deductible, but if you combine personal travel with a business trip, the IRS may reduce how much of your trip costs you can write off. That's particularly true if the trip is overseas or the seminar is on a cruise.


Employees have to write off unreimbursed costs as an itemized deduction on Schedule A. Business owners report them on Schedule C, the form for self-employment income and expenses. If you're a sole proprietor, you write off all your business expenses against your Schedule C income. If you're a partner, you divide up expenses and income based on your ownership share of the company. Keep cancelled checks and receipts to verify your spending, along with material about the seminar showing its relevance to your work.