Good Question: Can I catch a break on tax write-offs due to the ongoing pandemic?

WHECTV
Updated: November 25, 2020 06:15 AM
Created: November 25, 2020 05:46 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)—     With all the shutdowns and changes when it comes to your work with COVID safety measures, here’s something a lot of people have thought about.

Steve sent News10NBC Brennan Somers this email about it: "Are people allowed to write off their expenses on their taxes? Such as office space, electricity, heat, air-conditioning, converting rooms into offices in your house, supplies and etc?"

For most of you, that answer is no. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed just a few years ago brought a lot of change when it comes to your finances.

“The most recent tax law in December of 2017, in effect, eliminated the home office deduction benefit for those people that are who received their income via a W-2,” local tax expert Jim Schnell from Mengel Metzger Barr said.

Schnell told Somers we're still in the same situation today. The rules now don't allow employees to write off business expenses that their company never reimbursed. So, if you suddenly have a "home office” just because you're working at the house during this pandemic anything you've bought to help with your job is also your responsibility.

Remember, this applies to W-2 workers (most employees). Others get a pass, like freelancers and contractors.

“You have more opportunities available to you right now in order to invest in your setup, enhance your setup, make your home office more conducive,” Schnell added.

There are some rules for those who can get a break for at-home expenses.

Your office has to be your main place of business used on a regular basis and to meet customers. You can't just have your computer on the dining room table or in the living room where your family hangs out and call that a real working area.

If you're not self-employed, still keep track of everything including your receipts.

You may be able to get some help on your state taxes in NY.

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If you have a question you'd like answered, email GoodQuestion@whec.com.


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