Is Your Home Office Also a Tax Shelter?
The pandemic ushered in the age of video meetings, providing a glimpse into many kinds of home workspaces. For many workers, a dedicated home office became more important than ever in 2020, though not everyone will get a tax break for having one.
A Perk for Business Owners
Only self-employed workers, independent contractors, and partners in certain pass-through businesses may claim the home office deduction on their personal tax returns.
To qualify, a home office must be the taxpayer's principal place of business and be used regularly and exclusively for work — not to manage personal matters or pursue a hobby. It must be a separately identifiable space, but not necessarily an entire room.
Prior to 2018, employees receiving a W-2 form and corporate business owners who were required to work at home could claim the home office deduction as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. However, this deduction was eliminated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for years 2018 through 2025.
Companies may reimburse employees for some home office expenses and take a deduction on corporate tax returns.
One Way or Another
Taxpayers who operate a trade or business out of a qualifying home office can choose between two different calculation methods, one of which could result in a larger deduction.
Under the original method, eligible taxpayers can write off a percentage of home office expenses such as depreciation, rent, property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and repairs. The percentage is based on the square footage of the space used by the business relative to the total size of the home.
A newer, simplified option allows taxpayers to claim a flat $5 per square foot of the office, up to 300 square feet. Thus, the deductible amount is capped at $1,500. This simple formula doesn't take home office expenses into account, so it's easier to figure out and generally lightens the recordkeeping burden. However, business owners with relatively high home expenses may be able to claim more than $1,500 for a home office if they use the more complex calculation method.
Sole proprietors and independent contractors take the home office deduction as a business expense on Schedule C, and partners use Schedule E. Either way, small-business owners may want their tax professional to help determine eligibility and evaluate the potential tax savings.
Content Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc for financial advisor use. This information, developed by an independent third party, has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. This information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. The material is general in nature. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.
Investment products are: not deposits, not FDIC/NCUA insured, not insured by any government agency, not bank guaranteed, subject to risk and may lose value. Raymond James financial advisors do not render legal or tax advice. Please consult a qualified professional regarding legal or tax advice.
All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of Raymond James & Associates, Inc. and are subject to change. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or that any of the forecasts mentioned will occur. Economic and market conditions are subject to change. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of capital. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. The market performance noted does not include fees and charges which would affect an investor’s returns. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.