Deducting Home Office Expenses Easier, Charitable IRA Rollovers

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IRS makes deducting home office expenses easier

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.

Please contact us to determine whether you’re eligible for the home office deduction.

Newly revived “charitable IRA rollovers”: Time is running out for 2012 tax savings

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) revives for 2012 and 2013 the opportunity to make tax-free IRA distributions (up to $100,000 per year) for charitable purposes. If you’re age 70½ or older, you can make a direct contribution from your IRA to a qualified charitable organization without owing any income tax on the distribution. This “charitable IRA rollover” can be used to satisfy required minimum distributions.

To help taxpayers take advantage of the 2012 revival, ATRA allows a charitable rollover made in January 2013 to be treated for tax purposes as if it had been made Dec. 31, 2012. And if you took an IRA distribution in December 2012 and contribute it to charity in January 2013, the “direct contribution” requirement is waived; you can contribute the distribution to a qualified charity in January 2013 and treat it as a 2012 direct contribution, provided the other requirements are met.

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