The National Directory of Certified Public Accountants

Ask A CPA - Small Business Services

Can I Claim A Home Office Deduction ?

Taxpayers are entitled to deduct any expenses for using their homes for business purposes if the expenses are attributable to a portion of the home or separate structure used Exclusively and On A Regular Basis as the principal place of any business carried on by the taxpayer (occasional use is not sufficient) or a place of business that is used by clients, customers, patients, in meeting or dealing with the taxpayer in the normal course of business. If the taxpayer is an employee, the business use of the home must also be for the convenience of the employer. A home office deduction may be claimed if the taxpayer regularly and exclusively uses part of the home for conducting the administrative or management activities of the business. Home office expenses may include real estate taxes, mortgage interest and operating expenses such as insurance and utilities and also depreciation. Home office deductions may be limited. The allowed deduction is calculated and reported on IRS Form 8829 and then transferred to the taxpayers Schedule C. There are certain tax consequences of claiming an office in the home deduction. A consequence occurs when the taxpayer sells his residence. Current law allows $500,000 exclusion on the sale of a residence ($250,000 for non-joint returns). If a residence is sold with a home office, the gross sales price must be apportioned over the residence and the business office. A taxable gain on the sale may occur. If a residence is sold without a home office the full exclusion may be taken. Some CPA's suggest not claiming an office in your home for the two years prior to the sale of the residence. Speak to your local CPA about your specific circumstances to work out a strategy that works for you.

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