Pros and Cons for Small Businesses that Use Home Office Tax Deduction

Deducting the cost of working out of your home can be a real plus when it comes to saving on taxes. However, meeting the terms of IRS regulations can be a bit overwhelming.

According to accountants, the deduction no longer leads to an automatic audit by the IRS as it once did. .

One of the frequent mistakes that filers make is to try to deduct space in their home that is utilized for both business and personal. The space in your home must be used solely for business purposes in order to qualify for the deduction.

Having a computer and other office supplies in your office isn't the only way you can gain full benefits of the deduction to use your home for business. The space you use in your home to manufacture goods or to store inventory can also be deducted. That's also the case if you run a day-care business or a nail salon in your home.

Even though you don't have to have a separate room for your office, taking the deduction will be less complicated if you do have a room set aside for business purposes. For example, it would be hard to try and convince the IRS that your home office which serves as a part of the family room is never used by your children to do their homework or play computer games.

Wherever the space is, it must be used regularly for your business. Mind you, the space doesn't have to be your only place of business.

If you have a home business you can deduct the expenses used to retain the business space, like a portion of the utilities, mortgage interest or rent, insurance, repairs and maintenance and other expenses pertaining to the space. The good news about being able to deduct your small business expenses is that you can also reduce the price of a portion of the home that is used for business. Generally, a house can not be depreciated.

To find out how much of your expenses you can deduct, you must divide the total square foot of the home by the square foot of the business. For example, if the business only used 10 percent of the house, and the filer had $5,000 in operating cost for the whole house, then $500.00 could be deducted.

Square footage is a sure way filers can create problems for themselves. For example, if while investigating your return, the IRS find that your business space is too big for the kind of business you run, then the size of your deduction might be challenged.

If claiming the deduction is something you plan to do, becoming knowledgeable about IRS rules would be recommended. You should first review IRS Publication 857, Business Use of Your Home which can be downloaded from the IRS Web site at You can also check out small business and home business tax guides that are available in bookstores.

It will also be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the IRS form you'll need to file, 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home, with instructions included. The information can be downloaded from the IRS Web site as well.

With a home business ( ) deduction, there are many things you have to look out for, so it's better to seek advice from a professional tax consultant before you claim the deduction.

For example, if you sold your home and the space in your home office has been depreciating, you'll have to somehow recapture the depreciation, or adjust the profit you made on your house to account for the tax break that you already got.

Another important point is that your deduction can not be bigger than the net profit you make. However, you can use the surplus to compensate for the profits in later years.

This is not the time to ponder about the home business deduction for last year. If your business space somehow didn't meet the requirements for the deduction, it's too late for it to be included.

What you can do is start working now, so you can claim the deduction for the 2007 tax year.

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