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Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, with more and more people choosing to telecommute or start their own businesses from home. While there are many benefits to working from home, one of the lesser-known benefits is the potential for tax deductions.
If you have a home office, you may be able to deduct a portion of your home expenses from your taxes. This can save you a significant amount of money, especially if you have a large home or high mortgage payments.
However, not all home office expenses are deductible. It's important to understand the rules before you start claiming deductions.
To qualify for the home office deduction, you must have a dedicated space in your home that is used exclusively and regularly for business purposes. The space can be a room in your home, a garage, or even a shed.
It's important to note that the space must be used exclusively for business purposes. This means that you can't claim a deduction for a room that you also use for personal purposes, such as a bedroom or family room.
There are a number of home office expenses that you may be able to deduct from your taxes, including:
Rent or mortgage interest
Utilities (electricity, gas, water, etc.)
Repairs and maintenance
Homeowners association fees
Business-related phone and internet service
Office supplies and equipment
To qualify for the home office tax deduction, you must meet the following requirements:
You must be self-employed or an independent contractor
You must use a portion of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes.
Your home office must be your principal place of business
Examples of people who may qualify for the home office tax deduction are self-employed consultants, freelancers, small business owners, home-based childcare providers, real estate agents, writers, artists, and musicians.
The following people do NOT qualify for the home office tax deduction:
Employees: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 suspended the home office deduction for employees for tax years 2018 through 2025.
People who use their home office for personal use: The home office must be used exclusively and regularly for business purposes in order to qualify for the deduction. If the home office is also used for personal use, then the deduction is not allowed.
People who do not have a principal place of business: The home office must be the taxpayer's principal place of business or a place where they meet with clients or customers on a regular basis.
People who have a home office but do not have any business income: The home office deduction is only allowed for business expenses, so taxpayers must have some business income in order to qualify for the deduction.
There are a few exceptions to the exclusive-use test for certain businesses, such as childcare providers and people who store business inventory in their homes. However, most taxpayers must meet the exclusive-use test in order to qualify for the home office deduction.
There are two ways to calculate your home office deduction: the simplified method and the regular method.
The simplified method is the easier of the two methods. To use the simplified method, simply multiply the square footage of your home office by $5. The maximum square footage for the simplified method is 300, so the maximum deduction is $1,500.
The regular method is more complicated, but it may allow you to claim a larger deduction. To use the regular method, you need to calculate the percentage of your home that is used for business purposes. Once you know the percentage, you can multiply that percentage by your total home expenses to get your deduction.
Direct expenses are expenses that are directly related to your home office, such as the cost of a desk and chair. Indirect expenses are expenses that are shared between your home office and your personal residence, such as utilities and mortgage interest.
Direct expenses can be deducted in full, regardless of which method you use. Indirect expenses can only be deducted using the regular method.
Which method you should use depends on your individual circumstances. If you have a small home office and you don't have a lot of expenses, the simplified method may be the easiest option for you. If you have a large home office or you have a lot of expenses, the regular method may allow you to claim a larger deduction.
To claim your home office deduction, you will need to file Form 8829 with your tax return. On Form 8829, you will need to provide information about your home office, such as the square footage of the space and the percentage of your home that is used for business purposes. You will also need to provide documentation of your home office expenses.
If you're working from home and haven't yet claimed the home office deduction, there are a few things you can do to maximize your deduction:
Gather your records. You'll need to provide documentation of your home office expenses to support your deduction. This documentation can include receipts, invoices, and bank statements.
Use the simplified method. If you don't have time to calculate your deduction using the regular method, you can use the simplified method. This method is easier to use, but it may not allow you to claim as large of a deduction.
Estimate your expenses. If you don't have all of your receipts or invoices, you can estimate your home office expenses. However, be sure to keep good records of your estimates so that you can provide documentation to the IRS if necessary.
In addition to home office deductions, you can get even more tax breaks if you take action by the end of the year.
The home office deduction can be a valuable tax deduction for those who work from home. By evaluating your home office expenses for potential deductions, you can save a significant amount of money on your taxes.
If you aren’t sure if you qualify or if you have questions, contact us and we’ll be happy to provide you with additional information!
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