Is your main office in your home?

 

If you use part of your home for business, you may be able to deduct expenses for the business use of your home. The home office deduction is available for homeowners and renters, and applies to all types of homes.

There are two methods for calculating your home office deduction:

 

Simplified Option

For taxable years starting on, or after, January 1, 2013 (filed beginning in 2014), you now have a simpler optionĀ for computing the business use of your home (IRS Revenue Procedure 2013-13, January 15, 2013). The standard method has some calculation, allocation, and substantiation requirements that may be complex and burdensome for small business owners. This new simplified option can significantly reduce the record-keeping burden by allowing a qualified taxpayer to multiply a prescribed rate by the allowable square footage of the office in lieu of determining actual expenses.

 

 

Regular Method

Taxpayers using the regular method (required for tax years 2012 and prior), instead of the optional method, must determine the actual expenses of their home office. These expenses may include mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, repairs, and depreciation. Generally, when using the regular method, deductions for a home office are based on the percentage of your home devoted to business use. So, if you use a whole room or part of a room for conducting your business, you need to figure out the percentage of your home devoted to your business activities.

 

A variety of expenses may be deductible for an office in the home

A variety of expenses may be deductible for an office in the home

 

Requirements to Claim the Deduction

Regardless of the method chosen, there are two basic requirements for your home to qualify as a deduction:

1. Regular and Exclusive Use.

You must regularly use part of your home exclusively for conducting business. For example, if you use an extra room to run your business, you can take a home office deduction for that extra room.

2. Principal Place of Your Business.

You must show that you use your home as your principal place of business. If you conduct business at a location outside of your home, but also use your home substantially and regularly to conduct business, you may qualify for a home office deduction. For example, if you have in-person meetings with patients, clients, or customers in your home in the normal course of your business, even though you also carry on business at another location, you can deduct your expenses for the part of your home used exclusively and regularly for business. You can deduct expenses for a separate freestanding structure, such as a studio, garage, or barn, if you use it exclusively and regularly for your business. The structure does not have to be your principal place of business or the only place where you meet patients, clients, or customers.

Meeting clients in your home helps satisfy the deduction requirements

Meeting clients in your home helps satisfy the deduction requirements

Generally, deductions for a home office are based on the percentage of your home devoted to business use. So, if you use a whole room or part of a room for conducting your business, you need to figure out the percentage of your home devoted to your business activities.

 

Experimenting with the calculations should show whether a per room or a per square foot calculation optimizes your deductions.