Sure, when you’re at the office you think nothing of printing out 50-page forwards or swiping entire cases of staples and pens, but if you work at home it’s time to get conservative.
The first question that must be asked about any home office in order for it’s expenses to be deductible is, is the workspace used exclusively and regularly for business? The answer to both of these questions must be yes before any deduction can be taken. If the workspace is used for both business and personal use, then it is not deductible. Furthermore, the space must be used on a regular basis for business purposes; a space that is used only a few times a year will not be considered a home office by the IRS, even if the space is not used for anything else. These criteria will effectively disqualify many filers who try to claim this deduction but are unable to substantiate regular and exclusive home office use. It should be noted that it is not necessary to partition off the workspace in order to deduct it (although this may be helpful in the event you are audited.) A simple desk in the corner of a room can qualify as a workspace, provided you count only a reasonable amount of space around the desk when computing square footage.
IKEA Hensvik Bookcase [left of picture]: $59.99