Many of us are still working from home, and some have decided to work from home for good while the pandemic remains with us. For those new to this world, what kind of tax write-offs, if any, could we be looking at for 2020?
We've made it through this unique and very different tax season. So, what does that mean? We start looking ahead to next year! Many of our clients are friends are still working from home, while others have decided to work from home for good. If this year has taught you anything new about your professional life, its if you are a fan of working from home or not. We know and recognize that it's not for everyone, and we also understand the reason why so many companies are still having their employees work from home. If anything, we appreciate the safety of it and we are trying to find the silver lining. This year has meant saving money on gas, saving money on takeout, getting rid of that morning commute, more time in comfortable clothes, spending time with our families, and for some, it has meant a whole makeover of their homes, especially their backyards! For those who don't own their own small business and don't work from home regularly, when you did move home, one thing that might have made the transition less painful was the possibility of writing off your new expenses in your 2020 taxes. Will this be a possibility? Could there be an even bigger silver lining waiting at the end of all of this?
There have been many silver linings to this experience than many of us have tried to focus on, but like it or not, it does cost extra to work from home. You're buying supplies, buying new office furniture, getting better wifi, and possibly paying a ton more in child care. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to write all of that off or at least a part of these expenses on 2020 taxes? Unfortunately, due to a tax reform in 2017, this opportunity was eliminated, according to Kiplinger and AccountingToday. Granted, this decision was made years before we knew what the coronavirus was and it was thought to be a good idea to eliminate this possibility. According to AccountingToday, the reasoning behind this change was that a "doubling of the standard deduction would help offset the pain of ending or cutting itemized deductions". That idea was nice at the time, but for all of us working from home and through the pandemic, it's not much help at all. Before this tax reform, you were able to write off your business expenses that were not paid back by your employer. These expenses included part of your home as an office, and much more. Sadly, if your company has sent you home during the pandemic, this will not be an option. With so many of us struggling with this reality, and with potentially limited funds as it is, what is the best way to recover from it? AccountingToday suggests the best route to go is to approach your company and try to negotiate with them. When it comes to federal taxes for your employers, tax code does allow them to reimburse their employees for certain costs during periods of disaster. The IRS has stated that is current pandemic does qualify. It will be up to our employer to choose what costs the will and will not cover, but if you approach them with a reasonable list of items, that can be a great place to start (i.e. wifi, child care, cost of buying new supplies).
If you're working from home for your company, but also have a second job or a small side hustle, there might be a small tax break in there for you. According to Kipling, as long as you meet all the proper requirements, you will be allowed to claim deductions for your business expenses and your at-home business expenses for your own company.
WORK FROM HOME
If you are self-employed, this might be one of the greatest advantages for you right now. Those who are self-employed are still allowed to deduct business expenses with the Schedule C Form 1040 when filing. Your small business must be your only form of income, and the space you work in must only be used for work purposes, according to H&R Block. This means that your kitchen table won't count. If you do use a small corner of your home or a specific table just for work, then that will count. One of the biggest things you must do is keep meticulous notes and records of your expenses if you plan on writing these expenses off. Many self-employed individuals get flagged when they file and get stuck with an audit. Make sure you're reading to back up your deductions at a moment's notice. If you have a building outside of your home that you use only for work (like a barn, shed, garage), it can also be written off. Also, if you work outside of your home for your own business, but have been forced back to your home for safety reasons, you are allowed to write that off on your expenses too. According to H&R Block if you own your own business under a 1099, and you meet all the standards created by the IRS, you'll be allowed to write off all of your direct expenses for your small business. You will also be able to write off a portion of your indirect expenses too! But please take caution, you will still need to keep good records of everything.
This year has brought its fair amount of challenges. Many of these challenges could reappear when filing your 2020 taxes. Make sure you speak with your company about your expenses before just assuming they won't help you. If you're self-employed or work under a 1099, make sure you keep excellent records and understand everything about your writeoffs to avoid an audit. Hang in there everyone! We know this is a personal and financially difficult time for all of you. We are always here to help. Don't forget! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
The Pathways Team