Experts caution against using temporary home offices as tax write off

Posted at 11:08 AM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 12:08:29-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed many people's homes into temporary offices, but experts say you should think twice before using that home office as a tax write off.

Tax experts say if you use your temporary "home office" as a tax write off, you could actually end up owing more money due to a tax act that was passed two years ago.

Under the legislation, if you're still employed but required to work at home because of the pandemic, there are no tax benefits. This means you can't use your personal laptop, rent or utilities as a tax write off. However, if you're self-employed, such as a person who has their own business from home, then tax professionals say you are eligible for a tax deduction.

Despite this law, tax experts believe many people will make mistakes when it's time to do this year's taxes.

"I do think there will be folks who will try to claim these expenses when they itemize or add some sort of miscellaneous deduction and they're just not going to be allowed," said tax professional Scott Rinehart. "They may get a letter from the IRS at some point saying, 'hey, you owe us some money.'"

Experts recommend you keep track of all your expenses, use free tax sources online as well as the IRS.