On Jan. 15, the IRS announced a new simplified home office deduction, which is available beginning with 2013 income tax returns (not the 2012 returns generally due April 15, 2013).
Normally, if your home office qualifies, you can deduct a portion of your mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, utilities and certain other expenses. Further, you can take a deduction for the depreciation allocable to the portion of your home used for the office. You can also deduct direct expenses, such as a business-only phone line and office supplies. However, the deduction generally requires completion of a 43-line form (Form 8829), often along with complex calculations.
The new simplified deduction is $5 per square foot for up to 300 square feet of home office space. So the maximum annual deduction is $1,500. If you choose this option, you can’t deduct depreciation for this portion of your home. But you can take itemized deductions for otherwise allowable mortgage interest and property taxes without allocating them between personal and business use.