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Working Remotely for Good? Here are Tax Complications you Might Want to Untangle

Following the 2018 tax reform, deductions for home office expenses have decreased for employees but remain available for self-employed workers.
Image Source: Photo by Liza Summer | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Liza Summer | Pexels

In the post-pandemic era, an increasing number of Americans have begun working from home in recent years, and while that offers flexibility, they may face complications when it comes to filing taxes. Depending on where you work remotely, you may have to deal with different states' or cities' tax laws. Working from home can save your employer money on office supplies, but it may not always mean lower taxes for you.

Imae Source: Photo by Vlada Karpovich | pexels
Imae Source: Photo by Vlada Karpovich | pexels

Before 2018, workers frequently qualified for tax deductions for specific expenses related to their jobs. But deductions including those for home offices and unreimbursed expenses are no longer available to employees since 2018.

The number of workers working from home has significantly increased as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. These workers may have been eligible for tax deductions a few years ago that weren't available to individuals who worked in typical offices. These days, the only people who may typically claim these deductions when working from home are self-employed, with very few exceptions.

Since 2018, tax deductions for home office expenses have generally only been available to self-employed individuals. Nonetheless, working for yourself in addition to an employer does not automatically rule you out. The deductions have more to do with your income from self-employment, rather than what you make as an employee. Make sure your self-employment is the main purpose of your home office. It is OK to split other costs such as phone and internet bills, but the space must be used only for self-employed business purposes. It must be your primary place of business or a frequent gathering place for you to claim it.

Image Source: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio | pexels
Image Source: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio | pexels

As a digital nomad, you most likely need expert assistance with your taxes if you lived out of a van or alternated between Airbnbs for most of the year. Athletes and celebrities have long struggled with the possibility of having tax debt in numerous states and towns, which can vary depending on where you resided, how long you lived there, and how much money you made. Obih advises, "If you're moving from one state to another, it's essential to discuss your situation with a tax professional. They can provide tailored advice based on your circumstances."

If you work for yourself, whether through a side gig, freelance work, or your own company, you can write off business expenses against your taxes. This covers costs for using your home office, driving mileage incurred on business trips, and a part of your phone and internet fees when utilized for work-related activities. According to Cagan, it's important to have a general understanding of your business-related consumption, even though you don't have to keep an accurate minute-by-minute record.

To offer evidence in the event of an IRS audit, you must maintain thorough records, which should include detailed receipts and a picture of your home office. It's critical to overcome any fear of audits to properly claim your allowable deductions.

Image Source: Photo by olia danilevich | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by olia danilevich | Pexels

The rise of remote and hybrid work has coincided with COVID-19. Working from home may not have a significant tax impact for W-2 workers, but there may be complications if you relocate or change jobs during the year. Independent contractors and self-employed people are eligible to deduct home office expenditures; W-2 workers are not.