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Why not home office expenses?

T-Tax has shows $20,000+ profit for 2016, but when it figures for home office expenses, it says I do not qualify because my net profit is zero or less. How can it be both? It does say I owe a small amount of taxes.
1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
AnnetteB
Intuit Alumni

Why not home office expenses?

The deductible home office expense is limited by the income for the business that is attributed to the home office and by the other expenses for the business.  If the home office expenses are limited and not allowed to be taken on the current year’s return, then they are carried forward to the next year as long as the actual home office expenses were being used and not the simplified method based solely on the square feet of the office. 

The limitation also takes into account the amount of time spent in the home office generating income.  Take a close look at example 3 below which may be what is happening with your particular situation.

There are some examples below that will illustrate this limitation a little better.

 

Income Earned from Home Office


The IRS limits the total of certain kinds of home office expenses - the ones you would not be able to deduct anywhere else on your tax return, such as your utilities and repairs - to the income earned from activities in your home office. Although these expenses cannot themselves create a loss on your business, you can carry over any unused portion to next year's home office deduction.

Here's how it works. Let's say
 - Your business income before any expenses was $10,000
 - All business expenses that would not limit your home office deduction were $4,000, and
 - The home office expenses were $3,000

1). If 90% of your income came from business conducted in your home office, then you can deduct all of your home office expenses:
 - $10,000 X 90% of income from the home office = $9,000 from business use of the home
 - $9,000 - $4,000 other expenses = $5,000 available for home office expenses
 - $5,000 is greater than $3,000 home office expenses, so you can deduct all of them.

2). However, if 60% of your income came from business conducted in your home office, then your home office expenses will be limited:
 - $10,000 X 60% of income from the home office = $6,000 from business use of the home
 - $6,000 - $4,000 other expenses = $2,000 available for home office expenses
 - $2,000 is less than $3,000 home office expenses, so you can deduct $2,000 of them this year, and carry the remaining $1,000 to next year.

3). In addition, if 30% of your income came from business conducted in your home office, then you would not be able to deduct any of them this year:
 - $10,000 X 30% of income from the home office = $3,000 from business use of the home
 - $3,000 - $4,000 other expenses = $0 available for home office expenses (this will never be less than zero)
 - You cannot deduct any home office expenses this year, but you can carry the entire $3,000 to next year.


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1 Reply
AnnetteB
Intuit Alumni

Why not home office expenses?

The deductible home office expense is limited by the income for the business that is attributed to the home office and by the other expenses for the business.  If the home office expenses are limited and not allowed to be taken on the current year’s return, then they are carried forward to the next year as long as the actual home office expenses were being used and not the simplified method based solely on the square feet of the office. 

The limitation also takes into account the amount of time spent in the home office generating income.  Take a close look at example 3 below which may be what is happening with your particular situation.

There are some examples below that will illustrate this limitation a little better.

 

Income Earned from Home Office


The IRS limits the total of certain kinds of home office expenses - the ones you would not be able to deduct anywhere else on your tax return, such as your utilities and repairs - to the income earned from activities in your home office. Although these expenses cannot themselves create a loss on your business, you can carry over any unused portion to next year's home office deduction.

Here's how it works. Let's say
 - Your business income before any expenses was $10,000
 - All business expenses that would not limit your home office deduction were $4,000, and
 - The home office expenses were $3,000

1). If 90% of your income came from business conducted in your home office, then you can deduct all of your home office expenses:
 - $10,000 X 90% of income from the home office = $9,000 from business use of the home
 - $9,000 - $4,000 other expenses = $5,000 available for home office expenses
 - $5,000 is greater than $3,000 home office expenses, so you can deduct all of them.

2). However, if 60% of your income came from business conducted in your home office, then your home office expenses will be limited:
 - $10,000 X 60% of income from the home office = $6,000 from business use of the home
 - $6,000 - $4,000 other expenses = $2,000 available for home office expenses
 - $2,000 is less than $3,000 home office expenses, so you can deduct $2,000 of them this year, and carry the remaining $1,000 to next year.

3). In addition, if 30% of your income came from business conducted in your home office, then you would not be able to deduct any of them this year:
 - $10,000 X 30% of income from the home office = $3,000 from business use of the home
 - $3,000 - $4,000 other expenses = $0 available for home office expenses (this will never be less than zero)
 - You cannot deduct any home office expenses this year, but you can carry the entire $3,000 to next year.


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