Claiming a Deduction for Your Home Office

Taxpayers who use a portion of their home for business purposes may be able to take a home office deduction if they meet certain requirements.

In order to claim a business deduction, you must use part of your home for one of the following two reasons:

  1. Exclusively and regularly as either: your principal place of business, or as a place to meet or deal with patients, clients or customers in the normal course of your business. Where there is a separate structure not attached to your home, the regular and exclusive use does not need to be your principal place of business as long as the use is in connection with your trade or business.
  2. On a regular basis for certain storage use — such as storing inventory or product samples — as rental property, or as a home daycare facility.

Generally, the amount you can deduct depends on the percentage of your home that you used for business. Your deduction for certain expenses will be limited if your gross income from your business is less than your total business expenses.

If you use a separate structure not attached to your home for an exclusive and regular part of your business, you can deduct expenses related to it.

There are special rules for qualified daycare providers and for persons storing business inventory or product samples.

If you are self-employed, use Form 8829 to figure your home office deduction and report those deductions on line 30 of Schedule C, Form 1040.

Different rules apply to claiming the home office deduction if you are an employee. For example, the regular and exclusive business use must be for the convenience of your employer.

For more information see IRS Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home, available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Links:

  • Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home (PDF 214K)
  • Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home (PDF 64K)
  • Form 8829 Instructions (PDF 29K)
  • Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business (PDF 111K)
  • Schedule A, Itemized Deductions (PDF 116K)

Tax Tip: Claiming Home Office Deductions

Internal Revenue Service Tax Tips on Shoeboxed Blog

If you plan to run your small business out of your home you may be temped to “write-off” many of your household expenses. But how do you know what is deductible and what is not? The IRS has some advice that may help answer the question: “Can I take a Home Office Deduction?”

Generally, expenses related to the rent, purchase, maintenance and repair of a personal residence are not deductible.

However, if you use part of your home for business purposes you may be able to take a home office deduction. Expenses that can be deducted include the business portion of real estate taxes, mortgage interest, rent, utilities, insurance, painting, repairs and depreciation.

In order to claim a business deduction, you must use part of your home:

  • Exclusively and regularly as your principal place of business, as a place to meet or deal with patients, clients or customers in the normal course of your business, or in connection with your trade or business where there is a separate structure not attached to the home; or
  • On a regular basis for certain storage use such as inventory or product samples, as rental property, or as a home daycare facility.

In addition, if you work as an employee you can claim this deduction only if the regular and exclusive business use of the home is for the convenience of your employer and the portion of the home is not rented by the employer.

“Exclusive use” means a specific area of the home is used only for trade or business. “Regular use” means the area is used regularly for trade or business. Incidental or occasional business use is not regular use.

Non-business profit-seeking endeavors such as investment activities do not qualify for a home office deduction, nor do not-for-profit activities such as hobbies.

Example: An attorney uses the den in his home to write legal briefs or prepare clients’ tax returns. The family also uses the den for recreation. The den is not used exclusively in the attorney’s profession, so a business deduction cannot be claimed for its use.

These requirements are discussed in greater detail in Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home available at IRS.gov or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Links: