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Just because you work from home does not mean you can claim your space on your taxes

Posted at 5:39 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 11:14:44-05

When the commute to work switches from getting in your car and driving miles to getting out of bed and walking to your couch, more money is spent on things like utilities and WiFi.

Now many people are wondering if they can claim the additional expenses on their taxes this year.

One of those with questions is Paul York, the associate dean of student affairs at Texas A&M Central Texas, who started working from home when the pandemic first hit.

“I appreciate technology but sometimes when you're trying to portray information or when you're trying to get across an idea, it’s just so much easier to do it in person,” he explained.

To accommodate his newly found needs, York had to increase his WiFi strength, which in turn means he’s spending more money each month.

”We’re cutting in places to make up for some of those increased costs,” York admitted.

That’s why when tax season began, he sought out a professional to help him file. It's something York says he’s never done before, but with conflicting information on the internet about what you can and cannot claim, he decided he would get his questions answered directly.

“There are so many questions now, more questions than I've ever had when doing taxes,” he said.

However, they’re questions that receive short answers from tax professionals.

“If you receive a W-2 from your employer, you are a standard employee,” said Michael Muslovski, a tax preparer with McKinney Tax Services. “If you receive your money on a 1099 form, you are self employed… then you are allowed to claim the expenses for your job.”

So, if you fill out a W-2, you’re likely out of luck and cannot claim those extra expenditures on your taxes, but Muslovski said some may try to find ways around the rules.

”Chances are that if you find a loophole, you probably made it up,” he explained. “Unless you can go and then verify that through the tax code through a regulation of some sort.”

Muslovski says the best advice he can offer is that if you have questions about your taxes, seek help from a professional or visit the IRS’s website for the most accurate information.