Can You Deduct Your Home Office?


If you work from home, should the boss pay you for use of that space? Can you take a tax deduction for home office space?

After all, millions of Americans are now doing all the things they typically do at their workplace. If they happen to own the business, they can claim a tax deduction of some of the expense of that home, as long as they meet certain guidelines.

John Kendeigh, senior tax manager at CPA firm Tarbell & Co., said a home office must be used exclusively for that purpose. If there’s a bed in the room, then it’s not an office. The room also has to be an enclosed space, Kendeigh said.

There are records to keep to properly claim this deduction. Look for guidance in this IRS publication.

Employees have less leeway. An employer might agree to install some furniture, but in general no tax deduction can be claimed. There could be pressure to change that, as the home-is-work routine takes hold. The Swiss have already addressed that. Their Federal Court already ruled in favor of a part-time employee there who wanted reimbursement for space he set aside for home-mandated work. Now the company pays him about $150 a month as a rent offset.

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