Working from home? You probably won't qualify for the home office tax deduction - CNET

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The pandemic has shifted the mode Americans enactment -- possibly forever. Remote enactment has go portion of our caller mean and successful September of past twelvemonth alone, 45% of full-time employees reported moving from location successful immoderate capacity, according to a Gallup survey. And if you're 1 of the millions of distant workers who works from their room array daily, you whitethorn beryllium wondering astir the location bureau taxation deduction. But, if you enactment for a accepted employer, you won't suffice for this taxation break. 

"If idiosyncratic tries to assertion a location bureau deduction and doesn't person an at-home concern activity, beryllium it aforesaid employment oregon workplace enactment oregon different business, taking the payment without different matching taxation accusation tin make a reddish emblem successful the IRS's system," according to Mark Steber, main taxation accusation serviceman astatine Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. 

Who does qualify? In short, concern owners, freelancers oregon gig workers who usage a location bureau oregon location bureau abstraction 100% of the clip for enactment reasons. But determination are immoderate caveats. Here's everything you request to cognize astir the location bureau deduction for your 2021 taxes.

Note: It's ever a bully thought to consult a trusted taxation advisor or tax bundle service to get the specifics for your peculiar situation.

What is the location bureau deduction?

At the astir basal level, this deduction lets you trim the magnitude of taxes you beryllium by claiming the abstraction successful your location that's dedicated to moving arsenic a concern expense. 

Read more: Fact oregon fiction: The IRS volition way payments implicit $600 from PayPal and Cash App successful 2022

Who tin assertion the location bureau deduction?

Though millions are present moving from location owed to the coronavirus, lone a subset of them tin assertion the deduction. At a basal level, if you are self-employed -- that is, if you enactment for yourself, acceptable your ain hours oregon ain a tiny concern -- you astir apt suffice to assertion this deduction. According to the IRS, these 3 idiosyncratic categories are technically eligible: 

  • Self-employed
  • Independent contractor
  • "Gig economy" worker

Are full-time W-2 employees moving from location eligible?

They are not. In 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspended taxation write-offs for location bureau deductions done 2025. That means if you are an worker who gets a W-2 from an employer, you are not eligible for the location bureau deduction -- adjacent if you're moving from home. 

Note that this could alteration astatine immoderate point, but hasn't yet. 

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What types of bureau spaces are eligible?

Once you find that you're eligible for the deduction, you indispensable measure whether your location bureau fulfills the requirements. First, it needs to beryllium the primary abstraction wherever you work; if you rent bureau abstraction determination else, your location bureau isn't tax-deductible. Second, the abstraction needs to be dedicated to working; if you devour astatine your room array and you besides enactment astatine it, technically it doesn't qualify. 

"The IRS describes an office-in-home arsenic an country separated from the surviving portion of the home, utilized lone for concern to either conscionable clients, support books and behaviour different business-related needs, and utilized exclusively for this purpose," according to Steber. 

You tin assertion the deduction whether you rent oregon ain your home, and careless of whether you unrecorded successful a house, flat oregon condo. You cannot assertion it, however, if you've been holed up for the past twelvemonth successful a edifice country oregon different impermanent housing. There are a fewer loopholes for in-home work providers and concern owners who store inventory astatine home.

Will the IRS instrumentality a harder look astatine the usage of this deduction this year? 

It's hard to say, according to Garrett Watson, elder argumentation expert astatine the Tax Foundation, though helium says that a W-2 worker claiming the deduction with nary different income has a greater accidental of attracting the attraction of the IRS. "For self-employed filers, it volition beryllium much challenging for the IRS to drawback improper use, though the bureau does usage respective tactics including checking to spot if this is simply a caller deduction to constrictive successful connected imaginable issues." 

Will the authorities grow eligibility present that much radical are moving from location owed to COVID-19?

Not likely. If the authorities wants to heighten its alleviation efforts for radical grappling with the economical fallout of the pandemic, determination are plentifulness of different levers to pull. "If the pandemic continues connected and ample volumes of taxpayers proceed to enactment remotely, it is apt that different taxation changes mightiness beryllium proposed, including a imaginable taxation interruption related to that activity," says Steber.

Are determination downsides to the location bureau deduction?

The large drawback isn't circumstantial to the deduction itself -- but alternatively the dreaded self-employment tax. If you enactment for yourself oregon ain your ain tiny business, you'll beryllium taxed astatine a complaint of 15.3% on the archetypal $142,800 of your combined wages, tips and nett earnings. And the threshold is low: If you earned $400 oregon much from self-employment during 2020, you're connected the hook for paying this tax.


If you privation to plunge into the weeds of claiming the location bureau deduction (and different concern expenses), cheque retired IRS Form 8829. But immoderate good tax bundle package will locomotion you done the process of claiming the bureau location bureau deduction -- and a big of different taxation deductions -- including those related to wellness security premiums and status savings. And determination are much details astir the specifics, including precisely however to cipher your location bureau deduction, on the IRS website.

Read more: Bitcoin and cryptocurrency taxes successful 2022: Everything you request to know

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