Home Sweet Home: How to Determine if You Qualify for a Home Office Tax Deduction

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The rise in technological advances have given many individuals an advantage when it comes to doing their job: they can do it from home. And if you are one of those individuals, you have many advantages. To begin with, you save money on gas, clothing and food. But you also get to claim your home office on your tax return.

While the rules are strict and they must meet certain guidelines, if you qualify, you could be a looking at a nice deposit in your bank account come tax season.

Rule #1: The Office Space Is Clearly Identified

In order for your home office to qualify for any type of tax break, the space you use for your office must be used exclusively and regularly as your home office. Both of these criteria must be met. If the area is used for both personal and business use, it's not deductible. Also, if the space is only used sporadically throughout the year, it can't be deducted, even if the only time it is used is for business purposes. 

However, you don't necessarily have to partition off work-space in order for it to qualify. You can place a desk in the corner of the room that you use for your home office, but again, the room cannot be used for personal use. 

Rule #2: Your Job Requires You to Work From Home

Are you working from home as a mere convenience? In other words, do you do some extra work at home to play catch-up, but the work you're doing is voluntarily and not mandatory? If it's a mere convenience, it's not deductible. 

However, there are many jobs out there that may require you to work extra hours at home, and for this reason, you can deduct your home office. 

What if You Work Offsite?

If your job requires you to work offsite, you can still claim a home office deduction if your home office is your work base. In other words, where you process your paperwork, take phone calls, do emails and other tasks that pertain to your job. You don't physically have to be sitting at your desk all day in order to qualify for a home office deduction. 

The home office deduction can be quite confusing, so speak to an accountant, and have them handle your taxes or assist you in the process. They will be able to better guide you on what qualifies as a home office deduction and what does not.