You would think it’s pretty simple - I work from home, so I have a home office. But there’s much more to consider when it comes to taxes and deducting expenses associated with a home office.

Two Key Things to Remember

There are a couple of really important words the IRS uses when figuring out if the space you’re using in your home qualifies as a home office: “regularly” and “exclusively.”

What that means is you need to consider these two questions:

  • Do I do anything else in that space that isn’t related to my work?
  • Do I work there regularly throughout the year?

For instance, maybe your preferred place to work is on the couch in your living room. You spend at least a few hours every day sitting there with your laptop taking care of business. You definitely work there regularly. But if it’s like most living room couches, it’s also a place where you watch TV, hang out with friends or roommates or your family, or maybe you spend every Wednesday night there eating your favorite junk food while in your pajamas (no judgement!). Unfortunately that means it’s not exclusively used for work, and so it wouldn’t qualify as a home office.

On the other hand, maybe you’ve got a section of one room set up with your desk and some file or supply cabinets. Even though you’ve got another gig at a restaurant, every chance you get you’re at that desk working on your next film/podcast/design/business. It may be humble and may not take up a whole room, but it’s command central for the freelance or creative work you do. As long as you don’t do any work for your restaurant gig (or any other W2 work) at that desk, then it could likely qualify as a home office.

How Can I Be Sure?

There are often exceptions and nuances to questions like this when it comes to doing your taxes, and every situation is a bit different. Getting to the bottom of whether or not the space in your home qualifies as a home office is a really important question for many artists, creatives, and freelancers. To make sure you’ve got it right, be in touch with one of our Tax Advisors and we’ll help you sort through the details:

FYI, we also have a great article on how to determine the size of your home office.