Kiplinger’s Personal Finance: Working from home? Don’t expect a tax break

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Can someone working out of their houses because of the pandemic deduct the expense of the home office?In the past, employees who were required to work remotely could deduct the cost of their home office. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case.The 2017 tax law eliminated a provision in the tax code that allowed workers to deduct unreimbursed business expenses, including the cost of a home office, as long as the expenses exceeded 2% of their adjusted gross income.

Even before then, it was difficult for employees to claim this deduction because they had to meet the “convenience of the employer” test — which meant that they were required to work remotely.Those who merely had the option of working from home were ineligible.Working from home during the pandemic likely would have met the test because most employees whose offices were closed had no say in the matter, said Nathan Rigney, lead tax research analyst for H&R Block.Who can now claim the deduction? Workers who are self-employed or have a side hustle can still claim the home office deduction, and expenses don’t have to exceed 2% of their AGI.

Likewise, you’re eligible to claim the home office …

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