Work From Home Expenses to Document For The 2020 Tax Year

The IRS allows those that work from home to consider part of their home as business expenses. There are strict regulations around what is and is not allowed, but as long as you are acting in good faith you should not come across any issues.
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Now that COVID-19 has many people forced to work from home, there are new expenses that homebound workers should document and keep records of in order to take advantage of additional tax breaks for 2020. 

Below we list some common areas that you can deduct. Any of these expenses that are reimbursed by your company are not deductible. 

For example, if your company requires you to buy a printer. You purchase the printer with your own money and it is later reimbursed, that is not deductible. However, if you were to purchase the printer with your own money and your company does not reimburse the expense, it is deductible.


Common Deductible Home Office Expenses 

Mortgage Interest, Real Estate Property Taxes, and Insurance

While deductible, it is important to speak with your CPA on how to get this calculation just right. Some of these items may have sub-clauses or require support in order to prove your stance to the IRS.



This includes water and electricity because you undertake these expenses for your home.  However, other utilities like phone and internet expenses are more complicated because they are clearly used for personal purposes as well. 

When trying to claim your phone and internet expenses, it would be best to keep a log of how many hours of these services you are using each day for work purposes and provide the annual total to your tax professional so that they can determine the amount that can be claimed on your tax return. 


Repairs and Maintenance 

When providing these expenses to your accountant please expand on what the repairs and maintenance were for. For example, If they were for a new roof, this expense will need to be proportionate to the business use percentage of your home. While if you replace the carpet only in the room that consists of your home office, a higher percentage may be deductible.



This is an expense only calculated only by your tax professional. Some office equipment and even your home (if you are a homeowner) can be depreciated.  

In order for them to calculate this amount, you will need to provide your HUD-1 Settlement Statement that you received at the time you purchased your home and keep a log of any items purchased for your home office costing over $200.


Home Office Equipment and Furniture 

Be careful to only include furniture and equipment that was purchased for the sole purpose of working from home. Moving a table from your kitchen into your home office does not count as home office equipment or furniture from a tax perspective.  However, if you purchased a new laptop or printer in order to conduct work in your home, then this may be deductible.


Office Supplies

Pens, paper, and even a stapler can be considered office supplies that are deductible as long as they are only used for business and not reimbursed by your company. This is an area that can easily get challenged, so keep good records and receipts. 

In order to qualify to deduct your Home Office expenses, you must use an area of your home exclusively and regularly for business. If you want to get serious about this deduction, no more roaming the rooms of your home with a laptop. You must have a stationary workspace that is measurable by square feet. 



In order to document your home office expenses, be sure to keep meticulous records with your tax return each year for the following:

  • Home office space measurements 

  • Total Home Square Footage

  • Proof of payment of home office expenses deducted (rent, utilities, and other expenses listed above)

  • Letter expressing that your home office space is used for the employers’ convenience

  • Documentation showing that the area is used ONLY for business purposes on a regular basis 

One way to support your position is by keeping an annual photo of the area used, and a log of hours worked in the area would be useful documentation if the business use of your home office is ever called into question.

If you implement the tips and documentation guidance discussed above, you will be well on your way to having a new tax deduction on your return!

Please remember that when sending your home office expenses to your tax professional, it is best to give them the full amount paid, along with how you are determining the business use percentage of the expense. For further guidance about home office tax deductions, please feel free to reach out to ProAdvisor CPA or your tax professional.


Reference: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p587.pdf

This publication is designed to provide information on federal tax and accounting laws and/or regulations. It is presented with the understanding that the author is not rendering legal or accounting services.

This text is not intended to address every situation that arises or provide specific, strategic tax and/or accounting planning advice. This text should not be used solely to answer tax and/or accounting questions and you should consult additional sources of information, as needed, to determine the solution to tax and/or accounting questions.

This text has been prepared with due diligence. However, the possibility of mechanical or human error does exist and the author accepts no responsibility or liability regarding this material and its use. This text is not intended or written by the practitioner to be used and cannot be used by a taxpayer or tax return preparer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed.

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