Deducting Home Office Expenses
It is expensive to successfully set up and run a business to bring in a profit. To help in lowering operational costs, most entrepreneurs use their homes as their base of operation. Such taxpayers using portions of their main residence for business and meet the set IRS requirements, are allowed to deduct the business use of their home from their taxes. Such costs may include, amongst others:
· Mortgage interests
· Any improvements on the part used for business,
The business use of home deduction may be for an office space that you use to engage in business at home, a workshop, a garage or some studio. The IRS defines a house as any place where you cook and sleep; can be a condo, an apartment unit, a house, or even a boat. You however, must use the house regularly and exclusively for business reasons and it has to be the principal place for running your business. This means that you should be receiving customers, patients, or clients in a designated area of the house, or a separate structure on the property solely for business.
Ordinary Business Expenses
You can still deduct some of the business use of your home expenses even if you don’t meet all the set requirements, especially some ordinary expenses, like making long distance calls to clients, expenses for purchasing office supplies and equipment, amongst others. However, to deduct costs for running and keeping the home like rent, utilities, home insurance, repairs and related expenditures, you have to meet the set IRS requirements.
Regular and Exclusive Use
You can only deduct home-related expenditures if you use the home office regularly and mainly for the business. Regular use simply means continuous use of the part of the home; say some set hours daily or a number of days every week. Exclusive use means that you use the home office solely for business purposes and nothing else. If say you use the dining room for business but at the same time as a dining room for your family and entertaining guests, then you may not qualify for this deduction. The exclusive rule however, doesn’t apply to the part of the home used for storing inventory or running a daycare facility.
Do you meet the set requirements? Well, you might just be able to lower your tax obligation by deducting qualified home office expenses. For additional information, read the IRS Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home on the IRS website or consult a tax pro.