Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tax Facts About The Home Office Deduction

With technology making it easier than ever for people to operate a business out of their house, many taxpayers may be able to take a home office deduction when filing their 2009 federal tax return next year.
Here are five important things the IRS wants you to know about claiming the home office deduction.
1. Generally, in order to claim a business deduction for your home, you must use part of your home exclusively and regularly:
  • As your principal place of business, or
  • As a place to meet or deal with patients, clients or customers in the normal course of your business, or
  • In the case of a separate structure which is not attache d to your home, it must be used in connection with your trade or business
For certain storage use, rental use or daycare-facility use, you are required to use the property regularly but not exclusively.
2. Generally, the amount you can deduct depends on the percentage of your home that you used for business. Your deduction for certain expenses will be limited if your gross income from your business is less than your total business expenses.
3. There are special rules for qualified daycare providers and for persons storing business inventory or product samples.
4. If you are self-employed, use Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home, to figure your home office deduction. Report the deduction on line 30 of Schedule C, Form 1040.
5. Different rules apply to claiming the home office deduction if you are an employee. For example, the regular and exclusive business use must be for the convenience of your employer.
For more information see IRS Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home, available on or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Monday, August 3, 2009

IRS Warns Taxpayers to Beware of First-Time Homebuyer Credit Fraud

IR-2009-69, July 29, 2009
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced its first successful prosecution related to fraud involving the first-time homebuyer credit and warned taxpayers to beware of this type of scheme.
On Thursday July 23, 2009, a Jacksonville, Fla.-tax preparer, James Otto Price III, pled guilty to falsely claiming the first-time homebuyer credit on a client’s federal20tax return. Price faces the possibility of up to three years in jail, a fine of as much as $250,000, or both.
To date, the IRS has executed seven search warrants and currently has 24 open criminal investigations in pursuit of potential instances of fraud involving the credit. The agency has a number of sophisticated computer screening tools to quickly identify returns that may contain fraudulent claims for the first-time homebuyer credit.
“We will vigorously pursue anyone who falsely tries to claim this or any other tax credit or deduction,” said Eileen Mayer, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation. “The penalties for tax fraud are steep. Taxpayers should be wary of anyone who promises to get them a big refund.”
Whether a taxpayer prepares his or her own return or uses the services of a paid preparer, it is the taxpayer who is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the return. Fraudulent returns may result not only in the required payment of back taxes but also in penalties and interest.
First-Time Homebuyer Credit
The First-Time Homebuyer Credit, originally passed in 2008 and modified in 2009, provides up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers. The purchaser, however, must qualify as a first-time homebuyer, which for purposes of this credit means someone who has not owned a pr imary residence in the past three years. If the taxpayer is married, this requirement also applies to the taxpayer’s spouse. The home purchase must close before Dec. 1, 2009, to qualify, and the credit may not be claimed on the purchaser’s tax return until after the taxpayer closes and has purchased the home.
Different rules apply for homes bought in 2008.
Full details and instructions are available on the official IRS Web site,