Business Use of the Home
Every year, more and more Canadians are opting to work from home. It saves the cost of renting/buying an additional space in an increasingly inaccessible property market, as well as travel costs. Technology has also made it possible to use a workspace at home on a regular basis with access to the same resources as would be provided in an exclusive office space.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) enables Canadians who make business use of a work space in their homes to deduct expenses that flow from that use. However, the CRA often scrutinizes taxpayers for how they may draw the line between business and home expenses. It is important to understand the rules and conditions they set to avoid unnecessary audits and reassessments.
What is Required to Deduct Business Use of the Home Expenses
The CRA says that you can deduct expenses for the business use of a work space in the home, as long as you meet one of the following conditions:
- It is your principal place of business; or
- You use the space only to earn your business income, and you use it on a regular and ongoing basis to meet your clients, customers or patients.
In essence, your home office must be your main office. It must be your home base. Individuals who, say, work from home for a couple days each week, but their work still centres around a workspace outside the home would not be eligible. This is an important distinction because individuals are increasingly working from home, but that does not mean that their home office would be their principal place of business.
Or, you use the space in your home exclusively to produce business income. This is very relevant when it comes to deducting expenses incurred for upkeep and maintaining the work space. For instance, one could not claim their kitchen as their home office, and deduct expenses for buying a new kitchen table they work on. It must be a space used exclusively for deriving business income.
How do I Deduct Home Office Expenses?
If you satisfy one of the conditions mentioned above, you can deduct part of your home costs such as heat, home insurance, and electricity. You can even deduct part of your property taxes, mortgage interest, and CCA. However, you can only deduct the work space’s proportion of the total expenses. This attracts much scrutiny by the CRA: what proportion of the home’s expenses are incurred due to the home office?
The CRA advises that if you use part of your home for both business and personal living, you should calculate how many hours a day you use the rooms for business, and then divide that amount by 24 hours, and then multiply that by your total home expenses.
The amount of expenses you deduct cannot be more than your net income from the business before you deduct these expenses. Basically, the CRA does not allow you to use expenses to increase a business loss.
If you are being audited for your home office, or you have questions about what expenses are eligible, give us a call today! We’re here to help!
This article provides information of a general nature only. It does not provide legal advice nor can it or should it be relied upon. All tax situations are specific to their facts and will differ from the situations in this article. If you have specific legal questions you should consult a lawyer.