My boss lets me work from home. Can I write off my home office?

March 18, 2015 by Dave Du Val, EA
woman on the phone holding baby

Hey Dave,

I am a policy and procedure writer for a Fortune 500 company. Due to my long commute, my boss lets me work from home one day a week. Can I write off my home office?

Gail

 

Gail,

I am happy to hear that you have an accommodating boss. Unfortunately, the IRS is not as considerate when it comes to allowing employees to claim a home office. There are very strict requirements that must be met in order for a W-2 employee to be eligible to claim the home office deduction. Here are the two tests you must pass:

(1) The home office use must be for the employer's convenience (usually because there is no other office space available); and

(2) The home office must be required as a condition of your employment. For this requirement, your employer must be able to verify that there is a substantial business need for requiring you to work from home.

Since you say in your question that you are working from home once a week to give you a break from your long commute, I’m afraid you would not be able to pass either of these tests and, therefore, you would not be eligible to claim a deduction for your home office expenses.

Deductibly Yours,

Dave

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David E. Du Val, EA
Chief Compliance Officer for TRI Holdco

 

Dave Du Val, EA, is Chief Compliance Officer for TRI Holdco. Inc., the parent company of TaxAudit, and Centenal Tax Group. A nationally recognized speaker and educator, Dave is well known for his high energy and dynamic presentation style. He is a frequent and popular guest speaker for the California Society of Tax Consultants, the California Society of Enrolled Agents and the National Association of Tax Professionals. Dave frequently contributes tax tips and information to news publications, including US News and World Report, USA Today, and CPA Practice Advisor. Dave is an Enrolled Agent who has prepared thousands of returns during his career and has trained and mentored hundreds of tax professionals. He is a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, the National Association of Enrolled Agents and the California Society of Enrolled Agents. Dave also holds a Master of Arts in Education and has been educating people since 1972. 


 

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