All small business owners and entrepreneurs start somewhere…usually out of a small home office — no overhead of renting an office, no driving to work and pumping your gas bill up…for some that works great for a while, but for others, as the business grows, they need extra room. In the meantime though, there are many ways to use your home as a tax deduction.
Directly from the IRS website, below are some guidelines to help you with home office tax breaks …
Whether you are self-employed or an employee, if you use a portion of your home for business, you may be able to take a home office deduction. Here are six things the IRS wants you to know about the Home Office deduction
1. Generally, in order to claim a business deduction for your home, you must use part of your home exclusively and regularly:
- as 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, or
- in any connection with your trade or business where the business portion of your home is a separate structure not attached to your home.
2. For certain storage use, rental use, or daycare-facility use, you are required to use the property regularly but not exclusively.
3. Generally, the amount you can deduct depends on the percentage of your home 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.
4. There are special rules for qualified daycare providers and for persons storing business inventory or product samples.
5. If you are self-employed, use Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home to figure your home office deduction and report those deductions on line 30 of Form 1040 Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business.
6. If you are an employee, additional rules apply for claiming the home office deduction. 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 http://www.IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
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)
If you use part of your home for business, you may be able to deduct expenses for the business use of your home. These expenses may include mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, repairs, and depreciation. The home office deduction is available for homeowners and renters, and applies to all types of homes, from apartments to mobile homes. 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 bedroom to run your online business, you can take a home office deduction for the extra bedroom.
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 free-standing 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.
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.
Additional tests for employee use. If you are an employee and you use a part of your home for business, you may qualify for a deduction for its business use. You must meet the tests discussed above plus:
Your business use must be for the convenience of your employer, and
You must not rent any part of your home to your employer and use the rented portion to perform services as an employee for that employer.
If the use of the home office is merely appropriate and helpful, you cannot deduct expenses for the business use of your home.
For a full explanation of tax deductions for your home office refer to Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home. In this publication you will find:
The requirements for qualifying to deduct expenses for the business use of your home (including special rules for storing inventory or product samples).
Types of expenses you can deduct.
How to figure the deduction (including depreciation of your home).
Special rules for daycare providers.
Selling a home that was used partly for business.
Deducting expenses for furniture and equipment used in your business.
Records you should keep.
Where to deduct your expenses (including Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home (PDF), required if you are self-employed and claiming this deduction).
The rules in the publication apply to individuals.