Work From Home Update: Know what types of tax deductions are allowable

In today’s hectic work environment, freelancing is synonymous with independence. Besides, if you are a freelancer, you get an opportunity to gain better financial independence. On the other hand, you also have the freedom to work when you want, where you want, and for whom you want. 

Some freelance professionals are often fixed about getting started with taxes and keeping well with the related deductions. One immediate deduction available for freelancers is the home office tax deduction. If you can recall that you are subject to different tax regulations than everyone else, the IRS makes you feel much less burdened. Whether you work as a full-time freelancer or as a side hustler, you may be wondering what deductions you can apply while working from home. So, here is a valuable piece of information to guide you on the journey.

How do you go about filing? Is it going to cost you more money? Do you have to pay any taxes on it? These are the most common questions for which you will find the answers ahead!

The deduction related to the home office is applicable on other fronts too. For instance, the covid pandemic made many people stay indoors and work from home. If you have been using your home space for work purposes, you are eligible for a particular deduction. 

Who can apply for a home office tax deduction?

Suppose you are using a portion of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes, office purposes, or your freelancing work. In that case, you may be able to get a deduction on various expenses, including interest, utilities, insurance, repairs, and, most importantly, the depreciation that comes along with the usage of the work portion of your home.

The home office deduction is available to both homeowners and renters, and it applies to all types of residences.

If the home office qualifies for the deductions, self-employed individuals or freelancers can deduct their home office expenses from their business income. This includes:

  • people who work from home full-time,
  • people who do freelance work (even employers), and 
  • people who have been self-employed for as little as a few months.

Methods to file for home office tax deduction:

There are two methods to file for this deduction, including the simplified option and the traditional method. The simplified option came into existence after 2012, while the latter was in place before 2012.

Simplified Process:

For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2013, there is now a simplified method for calculating the home office deduction. This new simplified option can also significantly reduce the burden of recordkeeping.

Some calculation, allocation, and substantiation requirements in the standard method are complex and burdensome for small business owners. This method allows a qualified taxpayer to multiply a prescribed rate instead of determining actual expenses. 

The Regular Method 

Taxpayers who use the traditional method rather than the optional method must calculate the actual costs of their home office. 

Deductions for a home office are generally based on the percentage of your home devoted to business use when using the traditional method. Mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, repairs, and depreciation are examples of these costs.

So, if you conduct your business in a whole room or part of a room, you must calculate the percentage of your home dedicated to your business activities.

Conditions for Claiming the Home Office Tax Deduction:

Whatever method you choose, there are two basic requirements for your home to qualify as a deduction: regular use and exclusive use: Principal place for your business

Regular & Exclusive use:

You must regularly use a portion of your home solely for business purposes. For example, if you use an extra room in your home to run your business, you can claim a home office deduction for that space.

The principal place for your business

If you use a separate free-standing structure, such as a studio, garage, or barn, exclusively and regularly for your business, you can deduct the costs of that structure. The structure does not have to be your primary place of business or the only location where you interact with patients, clients, or customers. 

You must demonstrate that your home is your primary place of business. If you conduct business at a location other than your home but use your home significantly and regularly for business, you may be eligible for a home office deduction.

For example, suppose you have in-person meetings with patients, clients, or customers in your home as part of the ordinary course of business. In that case, even if you also conduct business at another location, you can deduct your expenses for the portion of your home that is used exclusively & regularly for business.

Is Your Home Office Eligible for the home office tax deduction?

To be eligible, your home office must also meet specific criteria. To qualify for the home office deduction, you must use a portion of your home for business “regularly and exclusively.” Your office does not have to be in a separate room, but it must be in an area of your home where you do nothing else. For example, it can be a dedicated nook in the corner of your basement, but it cannot be your family’s kitchen table.

The space must also be your primary place of business or a location where you meet with clients or patients regularly. It doesn’t have to be your only place of work; it could be where you usually do administrative tasks for your company, for example. “If you’re a plumber who works in different locations but does all of your administrative work from your home office, that would qualify,”

The home office tax deduction is generally based on the percentage of your home that is used for business purposes. So, if you conduct your business in a whole room or part of a room, you must calculate the percentage of your home dedicated to your business activities.

You cannot deduct expenses for the business use of your home if the use of the home office is merely appropriate and helpful.

Concluding tip:

Don’t forget to save for other significant expenses when you’re putting money aside. Car insurance and health insurance, like taxes, can catch you off guard. Put your tax refund money in a separate savings account, but don’t forget about your emergency fund.

There is no such thing as paid time off for a freelancer. Maintaining an emergency fund allows you to stay out of debt in the future and cover all other expenses.

Also Read the Ways to Settle IRS Tax Debt