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For Small Business Week, IRS offers tips to small business owners about the overlooked home office deduction

IR-2018-112, May 3, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded small business owners who work from a home office that they may be overlooking a common deduction.

The IRS encourages small business owners to explore the guidelines surrounding home office deductions so they understand the legal guidelines and options available. More details are available in Publication 587.

As part of National Small Business Week (April 29-May 5), the IRS is highlighting a series of tips and resources available for small business owners. For someone considering claiming the home office deduction, there are two options available:

Regular method

The first option for calculating the home office deduction is the regular method. This method requires computing the business use of the home by dividing the expenses of operating the home between personal and business use. Direct business expenses are fully deductible and the percentage of the home floor space used for business is assignable to indirect total expenses. Self-employed taxpayers file Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business (Sole Proprietorship), and compute this deduction on Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home.

Simplified method

The second option, the simplified method, reduces the paperwork and recordkeeping burden. The simplified method has a prescribed rate of $5 a square foot for business use of the home. There is a maximum allowable deduction available based on up to 300 square feet. Choosing this option requires taxpayers to complete a short worksheet in the tax instructions and enter the result on the tax return. There is a special calculation for daycare providers. Self-employed individuals claim the home office deduction on Schedule C, Line 30, and farmers claim it on Schedule F, Profits or Loss from Farming, Line 32.

Regardless of the method used to compute the deduction, business expenses in excess of the gross income limitation are not deductible. Deductible expenses for business use of a home include the business portion of real estate taxes, mortgage interest, rent, casualty losses, utilities, insurance, depreciation, maintenance and repairs. In general, expenses for the parts of the home not used for business are not deductible.

Deductions for business storage are allowed when the home is the only fixed location of the business, or for regular use of a residence for daycare services; exclusive use isn't required in these cases.

Further details on the home office deduction and the simplified method can be found in Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home, on IRS.gov.