Regular and exclusive use. That is the first hurdle to claiming the home office deduction. No matter what, if you don't use your office regularly and exclusively as an office the deduction is not available.
Using your office "regularly" is pretty vague. While there is no clear definition by the IRS of what "regular" means, be prepared to show you use it regularly. Using your office "exclusively" is easier to define. If you do your work at the dining room table, that is not exclusive. Have a space that is yours, and make sure it is only used for your business.
With the recent Equifax breach it seems a good time to remind business owners how to keep their companies safe. I recently read an article at entrepreneur.com (full article here) that shared some important information. Here are some key points copied from that article.
Businesses frequently fall prey to fraud and identity theft because their leaders misunderstand the risks. Entrepreneurs mistakenly believe their small startups are too insignificant for thieves to target. But when it comes to identity theft, size doesn’t matter. As long as a company possesses customer data -- particularly financial information -- it holds value for scammers.
Appropriate business deductions are always allowed. Always. The problem is that not all deductions are appropriate.
Sometimes taxpayers get carried away, and their vacation is morphed at tax time into a business trip. Others report their vehicle as being used exclusively for the business, and forget about all the personal driving they do in their cars. These types of deductions stand out to the IRS, making easy pickings for IRS auditors.
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