Do I qualify for the home office tax deduction?

To qualify for the home office deduction, you must meet one of these criteria:

  • Exclusive and regular use: You must use a portion of your house, apartment, condominium, mobile home, boat or similar structure for your business on a regular basis. This also includes structures on your property, such as an unattached studio, barn, greenhouse or garage. It doesn’t include any part of a taxpayer’s property used exclusively as a hotel, motel, inn, or similar business.
  • Principal place of business: Your home office must be either the principal location of your business or a place where you regularly meet with customers or clients. Some exceptions to this rule include day care and storage facilities.

Which method should I use to calculate my home office deduction?

  • Regular Method :Under this method, the business use of home deduction is calculated by dividing expenses of operating the home between personal and business use. You may deduct direct business expenses in full and may allocate the indirect total expenses of the home to the percentage of the home floor space used for business. A qualified daycare provider who doesn’t use his or her home exclusively for business purposes, however, must figure the percentage based on the amount of time the applicable portion of the home is used for business. Deductible expenses for business use of your home include the business portion of real estate taxes, mortgage interest, rent, casualty losses, utilities, insurance, depreciation, maintenance, and repairs. 
  • Simplified Option :Beginning with 2013 tax returns, the IRS began offering a simplified option for claiming the deduction. This new method uses a prescribed rate multiplied by the allowable square footage used in the home. For 2023, the prescribed rate is $5 per square foot with a maximum of 300 square feet. If the office measures 150 square feet, for example, then the deduction would be $750 (150 x $5). The space must still be dedicated to business activities.

Selecting a Method

  • You may choose to use either the simplified method or the regular method for any taxable year.
  • You choose a method by using that method on your timely filed, original federal income tax return for the taxable year.
  • Once you have chosen a method for a taxable year, you cannot later change to the other method for that same year.
  • If you use the simplified method for one year and use the regular method for any subsequent year, you must calculate the depreciation deduction for the subsequent year using the appropriate optional depreciation table. This is true regardless of whether you used an optional depreciation table for the first year the property was used in business.

If I'm an employee working from home, do I qualify for a home office tax deduction?

  • If you’re an employee working remotely rather than a business owner, you unfortunately don’t qualify for the home office tax deduction (however some states do allow this tax deduction for employees). Prior to the Tax Cuts and Job Act (TCJA) passed in 2017, employees could deduct unreimbursed employee business expenses including the home office deduction. However, for tax years 2018 through 2025, these deductions for employee business expenses have been eliminated.

Be sure to consult with your tax professional to analyze your specific tax situation. At Taxperts, we can assess your small business structure and suggest ways to increase your savings. Check out our website, Facebook page, or LinkedIn page to learn more.

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