How to take the home office deduction without triggering an audit We are less than a month away from the April 15 tax deadline.

As of March 15, the IRS had processed nearly 71 million returns, with the average refund hovering near $3,100.

The home office deduction is not allowed currently for expenses related to being a W-2 employee. [It’s] allowed only for self-employed individuals. One key requirement for the deduction is that a portion of the home needs to be exclusively used for business purposes. Given that this seems to be mixed use, qualifying for the deduction may be challenging. See IRS Publication 587, “Business Use of Your Home.”

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated employee business expenses on Schedule A. This means that unless you are self-employed, an independent contractor, or working a gig job, you cannot take the home office deduction.

“Employees who receive a paycheck or a W-2 exclusively from an employer are not eligible for the deduction, even if they are currently working from home,” the IRS says.

If you work as an employee but also earn self-employment income, you might still be able to deduct your home office expenses.

Don’t be afraid to take the deduction if you qualify for it. For tax year 2021, the most recent year for which complete figures are available, the total value of the home office business deductions was just over $12.8 billion, according to IRS data.

To avoid a tangle with the IRS, make sure the dedicated space in your home is used exclusively for your enterprise.