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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Rhonda D. Guillory, EA
Learning and Development Manager

 

Rhonda was a Seasonal Tax Return Reviewer at TaxAudit before joining the permanent staff as an Audit Representative in 2009. She has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in the Information Technology field for 15 years before making a career change. Since transitioning to the field of income tax in 2003, she has prepared and analyzed hundreds of tax returns. Rhonda enjoys helping taxpayers and tax professionals learn and understand the fascinating world of income taxes. Currently, she is the Learning and Development Manager.


 

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