You have an employer who sends you a W-2 form each year. However, you also work remotely. You know you don’t qualify as self-employed, but can you still deduct your home office on your taxes? What’s the rule for employees who work from home?
The answer is: it depends. To qualify for the home office deduction as an employee, you must meet all of the eligibility requirements of the self-employed home office deduction. In addition to these criteria, you must also past the “convenience of employer test.”
What the convenience of employer test?
The main determinant in this test is the purpose of your home office. You must demonstrate that you work at home primarily for the benefit and convenience of your employer.
Does your employer provide an office at the company, but allows you to work from home because you’re more productive there? Then you probably won’t qualify for this deduction.
Let’s say, however, that you suffer from chronic back pain, which makes you unable to do your work in the office provided by your employer. You have a set-up at home which allows you to do your work while getting the back support you need. In this case, you could make the case that there is a legitimate business reason for your home office.
There are also an increasing number of companies that don’t have a brick and mortar location at all—and all employees work remotely. If your company does not provide you with an office space, then your home office could qualify for the deduction.
The IRS scrutinizes home office deductions closely, so you want to be sure you qualify if you make this claim. It’s worth consulting with an experienced tax attorney to be sure.