Simplified Method for Claiming Home Office Deduction
May Deduct up to $1,500 a Year
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded people with home-based businesses filling out their 2015 federal income tax returns that they can choose a simplified method for claiming the deduction for business use of a home.
This is the fourth in a series of 10 IRS tips called the Tax Time Guide. These tips are designed to help taxpayers navigate common tax issues as this year’s April 18 deadline approaches.
In tax year 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available, more than 3.4 million taxpayers claimed deductions totaling just over $9.6 billion for business use of a home, commonly referred to as the home office deduction.
Introduced in tax year 2013, the optional deduction is designed to reduce the paperwork and recordkeeping burden for small businesses. The optional deduction is capped at $1,500 per year, based on $5 a square foot for up to 300 square feet.
Normally, home-based businesses are required to fill out a 43-line form (Form 8829) often with complex calculations of allocated expenses, depreciation and carryovers of unused deductions. Instead, taxpayers choosing the simplified method need only complete a short worksheet in the tax instructions and enter the result on their tax return. Self-employed individuals claim the home office deduction on Schedule C, Line 30; farmers claim it on Schedule F, Line 32 and eligible employees claim it on Schedule A, Line 21.
Though homeowners using the simplified method cannot depreciate the portion of their home used in a trade or business, they can claim allowable mortgage interest, real estate taxes and casualty losses on the home as itemized deductions on Schedule A. These deductions need not be allocated between personal and business use, as is required under the regular method.
Business expenses unrelated to the home, such as advertising, supplies and wages paid to employees, are still fully deductible. Long-standing restrictions on the home office deduction, such as the requirement that a home office be used regularly and exclusively for business and the limit tied to the income derived from the particular business, still apply under the simplified method.
Further details on the home office deduction and the simplified method can be found in Publication 587 on IRS.gov.
Other tips in the Tax Time Guide series are available on IRS.gov.
Related Pages for Self Employed
AB 1672 – (1992 to 2013) Small Group Health Rules prior to Obamacare
Health Insurance Deduction Line 29 for self employed
Schedule C – Line 12 Biz Income or Loss, Line 29 Health Insurance Premiums, Line 37 Adjusted Gross Income, MAGI Income
Issue Number: IR-2016-47
Must-Know Tips about the Home Office Deduction
If you use your home for business, you may be able to deduct expenses for the business use of your home. If you qualify, you can claim the deduction whether you rent or own your home. You may use either the simplified method or the regular method to claim your deduction. Here are six tips that you should know about the home office deduction:
- Regular and Exclusive Use. As a general rule, you must use a part of your home regularly and exclusively for business purposes. The part of your home used for business must also be:
- Your principal place of business, or
- A place where you meet clients or customers in the normal course of business, or
- A separate structure not attached to your home. Examples could include a garage or a studio.
- Simplified Option. If you use the simplified option, multiply the allowable square footage of your office by a rate of $5. The maximum footage allowed is 300 square feet. This option will save you time because it simplifies how you figure and claim the deduction. It will also make it easier for you to keep records. This option does not change the rules for claiming a home office deduction.
- Regular Method. This method includes certain costs that you paid for your home. For example, if you rent your home, part of the rent you paid may qualify. If you own your home, part of the mortgage interest, taxes and utilities you paid may qualify. The amount you can deduct usually depends on the percentage of your home used for business.
- Deduction Limit. If your gross income from the business use of your home is less than your expenses, the deduction for some expenses may be limited.
- Self-Employed. If you are self-employed and choose the regular method, use Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home, to figure the amount you can deduct. You can claim your deduction using either method on Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business. See the Schedule C instructions for how to report your deduction.
- Employees. You must meet additional rules to claim the deduction if you are an employee. For example, your business use must also be for the convenience of your employer. If you qualify, you claim the deduction on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.
Additional IRS Resources:
IRS YouTube Videos:
- Home Office Deduction for Daycare Providers (Simplified Method) – English
- Home Office Deduction for Schedule C Filers (Simplified Method) – English
- Home Office Deduction for Schedule F, Employee, Partnership Filers (Simplified Method) – English