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Employment Tax Topics

Home Business and Office Tax Deductions

See if you qualify for any tax breaks for operating a business from your home.

Is your home-based office a place of business?

A home office will qualify as the principal place of business if you use it exclusively and regularly to meet with clients or to conduct the administrative or management activities of your trade or business. There must be no other fixed location of the business where you can conduct these activities. Home office deductions cannot be more than your earned income. If they are higher, you may carry over the nondeductible expenses to the following year. Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home, is used to claim a deduction for home office expenses for a self-employed person. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) suspended the ability to deduct home office expenses for an employee beginning January 2018.

Do I qualify for home office tax deductions?

You may be entitled to a tax break if you are operating a business from your home. The following questions will help you determine whether you can deduct expenses incurred in connection with the business use of your home: 

  • Is this part of your home used regularly and exclusively in conjunction with your business or work?
  • Is this your primary place of business?
  • Is this where customers and clients meet with you?
  • Is this where you store product samples?
  • Is this where you administer or manage your trade or business?

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be able to deduct certain depreciation and operating expenses for the business use of your home. The same might apply if you use a separate structure (such as a shed), or store business-related supplies or inventory in an area of your home.

Tip/Help

If you are a freelancer, self-employed, or in the gig economy, you should be making estimated tax payments every quarter.

Tax File Minute: Answers from a Tax Insider

Is my home office tax deductible?

How much is the home office tax deduction?

The home office deduction is the business percentage of your total expenses for your home including rent or mortgage interest and taxes, utilities, and maintenance as well as any expenses for the home that are specific to the home office area.  Each home office is specific to the taxpayer and their business meaning the actual amount of the deduction will vary based on the specific circumstances. 

How to calculate home office deductions using the traditional method

To use the traditional method to calculate the home office deduction, you must first determine the percentage of the total square footage of your house used for your office space. You can deduct the business percentage of your mortgage interest and property taxes or rent, the business percentage of your utilities (if electricity or gas were used to heat or cool the house), homeowner’s insurance, home owner’s association dues, and any casualty or theft loss deduction. You can also deduct the business percentage of any repairs or maintenance performed on the whole home. In addition, you can claim the total costs of any repairs or maintenance performed only to the office space. If you own the home, you may also be eligible for depreciation on the home. Report your Home Office deduction on Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home. Any amount of the allowable deduction greater than the total income for the year may be carried forward and applied in each future year the traditional method is used.

How to calculate standard home office deductions using the simplified method

The simplified method of calculating the Home Office deduction is a shorter, quicker method of determining the deduction requiring less intense recordkeeping. Taxpayers can claim a standard deduction of $5 per square foot of qualifying home office space. The deduction is limited to $1,500 or 300 square feet. If you choose this method, you can not claim depreciation or any carryover of prior year un-allowed deduction under the traditional method. Report the simplified Home Office deduction on Schedule C, Self-Employment Income, Page 2.

Regardless of the method you choose, you must be sure to maintain the office as a separate space and no personal business or entertainment is permitted in the space.

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