If you use your den or a spare bedroom as the principal place of business, working there from 8:00 to 5:00 every day, but permit your children to watch TV in that room during the evening hours, the IRS dictates that you cannot claim a deduction for that room as your office or place of business.
There are, however, a couple of exceptions we will note to the “exclusive use” rule. One is the storage of inventory in your home, where your home is the location of your trade or business, and approval for your business, then, could be as your trade or business is the selling of products at retail or wholesale. According to the IRS, such storage space must be used on a regular basis, and be a separately identifiable space.
Another exception applies to day care services that are provided for children, the elderly, or physically or mentally handicapped. This exception applies only if the owner of the facility complies with the state laws for licensing.
To be eligible for business deductions, your business must be an activity under taken with the intent of making a profit. It’s presumed you meet this requirement if your business makes a profit in any two years of a five-year period.
Once you are this far along, you can deduct business expenses such as supplies, subscriptions to professional journals, and an allowance for the business use of your car or truck. You can also claim deductions for home related business expenses such as utilities, and in some cases, even a new paint job for your home.
The IRS is going to treat the part of your home you use for business as though it were a separate piece of property. This means that you’ll have to keep good records and take care not to mix business and personal matters. No specific method of record keeping is required, but your records must clearly justify any deductions you claim. Read more…