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Working from Home? Here’s What You Need to Know About Claiming Home Office Expenses

As the world becomes more technologically advanced and businesses move more online, working from home is becoming increasingly popular. This can be seen in the growing number of companies offering remote work options, both as a way to increase productivity and save money on office space. However, with remote work comes the need to establish a home office, which can entail some additional expenses for employees.

One question that many remote workers have is whether they can claim home office expenses on their taxes. In general, the answer is yes. If your home office meets certain criteria, you can claim expenses that relate to the business use of your home.

Here’s what you need to know about claiming home office expenses:

What qualifies as a home office?

To qualify as a home office, your space must be a designated area in your home that is used exclusively for business purposes. It needs to be separate from your personal living spaces, such as the living room or kitchen. If you do not have a separate space for your home office, you may not be eligible to claim expenses related to its use.

What expenses can you claim?

Once you have established that you have a home office that qualifies for tax purposes, you can begin to consider what expenses you can claim. These can include:

  • Rent or mortgage interest
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities (such as electricity, gas, and water)
  • Home insurance
  • Maintenance costs (such as repairs and cleaning)
  • Office supplies (such as paper, pens, and ink cartridges)
  • Furniture (such as a desk, office chair, or filing cabinets)
  • Equipment (such as a computer, printer, or phone)

It is important to note that you can only claim the portion of these expenses that is related to your business use of the home. For example, if your home office takes up 20% of your total living space, you can only claim 20% of your rent or mortgage interest.

How do you calculate your home office expenses?

To calculate your home office expenses, you need to determine the percentage of your home that is used for your business. This is done by dividing the square footage of your office space by the total square footage of your home.

Once you have determined the percentage of your home that is used for business purposes, you can apply that percentage to each of the expenses you are claiming. For example, if your home office takes up 20% of your home’s total square footage, you can claim 20% of your rent or mortgage interest, 20% of your utilities, and so on.

It is important to keep accurate records of all of your expenses, including receipts and bills, so that you can properly calculate and document your home office expenses.

Are there any limits to what you can claim?

There are limits to what you can claim as home office expenses. In general, you can only claim expenses that are necessary for your business use of the home. For example, you cannot claim the cost of adding a swimming pool or renovating your kitchen, even if those upgrades might help you be more productive in your home office.

Additionally, there are limits to how much you can claim for certain expenses. For example, there is a maximum amount that you can claim for depreciation on your office equipment, based on the depreciation class that the equipment falls under.

Finally, it is worth noting that claiming home office expenses can be complex, and it is always a good idea to consult a tax professional to ensure that you are claiming all of your eligible expenses and doing so correctly.

Working from home can be a great way to enjoy flexibility and autonomy in your work life. By understanding the rules around claiming home office expenses, you can ensure that you are maximizing your tax benefits while staying within the rules.

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