There are two ways to calculate a home office deduction, and both are based on square footage. Be prepared to measure your space.

Simplified method

With this method, you measure the area of just your home office or space. If you store inventory, measure that space too. Determine the square footage (length x width) and choose the closest home office size:

  • 100 sq ft, or about the size of a small bedroom
  • 200 sq ft, or about the size of a large bedroom
  • 300 sq ft or more, or about the size of an average living room

The deduction is a flat rate (currently $5 per square foot) to a maximum of 300 square feet. So if your space is about 100 square feet, your deduction would be $500.

The simplified method is what we use to calculate your quarterly estimated tax payments. If you're entitled to this deduction, make sure you select a home office size in the Home Office section of the Annual Taxes page. If you don't, the deduction won't be included in your estimates.

Actual expenses method

With this method, your home office space is a percentage of your home's total square footage. The percentage determines how much of your total home expenses (like rent, utilities, insurance) can be deducted for your home office. Here's an example:

  • Your home office space is 132 square feet (11" x 12")
  • Your total home square footage is 1,100 square feet
  • Your home office represents 12% of your entire home space
  • 12% of your rent, utilities, insurance, and so on will count towards the deduction

We don't use actual expenses for our calculations. We do provide special home office categories to better help you keep track of costs. At annual tax time, TurboTax or your tax pro can advise you about which method: simplified or actual is best for your situation.

If you use our home office categories to categorize your home expenses, you'll have a nicely summarized record at the end of the year for your annual taxes. (Your tax pro will be happy. TurboTax will be too.)