TaxConnections Picture - home officeIf you use your home for business, there are expenses you can deduct on your tax return. The home office deduction is available to both home owners & renters alike. The home must be used by a self-employed individual or an employee who works from home for his employer’s convenience.

This deduction has been available for a few years now, however with the tax year beginning January 1st, 2013 (filing starting January 1st, 2014), the Internal Revenue Service issued Rev Proc. 2013-13. This revenue procedure details an optional safe harbor available to individual tax payers for calculating a home office deduction.

The individual can claim the Home Office Deduction based on either the Simplified Method or the Regular Method (Details Follow).

Simplified Method: 

•  A standard deduction of $5 per sq foot for a home used for business up to a maximum of 300 sq feet.

•  No home office depreciation deduction is allowed nor is a later recapture for the years the simplified option was used.

•  Allowable home related expenses, such as, Mortgage Interest or Property Taxes is claimed in full on Schedule A. Read More

Trading and Investing tipsI have another new client who is a day trader and wow is he good at it! Even though he has another job he makes so much more money as a trader that this ultimately is his primary vocation. The following are a few things I’ve learned in helping this new client with his tax obligations.

1. If you are a day trader who has not elected to mark your portfolio to market accounting method under Internal Revenue Code 475 your expenses are deductible on IRS Form 1040 Schedule C.

2. The most commonly referenced Business Code provided on the Schedule C is 523900. Other financial investment activities (including investment advice) and in my opinion is the most appropriate for a person that meets the definition of “day trader” regardless of the accounting method chosen.

3. Regarding expenses, lodging and meals while away from home at investment seminars are allowable deductions assuming you actually qualify as a day trader under IRC Sec. 274(h)(7) which denies a Sec. 212(l) deduction for (non-business related) “expenses allocable to a convention, seminar, or similar meeting.” However, the Tax Court held that a day trader can deduct the cost of a seminar in securities day trading and related travel expenses under IRC Sec. 162. Read More