E-filing edging up
40 tickets to tax trouble

Interesting tax tip timing

An interesting message from the IRS showed up in my e-mail box this morning, a tip on taking the home office deduction.

The e-mail itself wasn't so unusual. I get tons of cyber communication every day -- newsletters I've signed up for, newsletters I don't remember signing up for, blog alerts, FYIs from friends and colleagues about tax and financial topics. Heck, even the occasional "V!agggra" message still slips through the filtering system.

And this particular one from the IRS didn't offer anything shocking or new. It was simply the standard tax-time reminder to home-based workers about what to do and not to do when it comes to taking this deduction:

  • Allowable expenses, such as a portion of your real estate taxes, mortgage interest or rent, utilities, insurance, depreciation and repairs.   
  • Forms to file, including  Schedule C to report your business income or loss and Form 8829 to figure your home office write-off. 
  • Requirements to meet, like making sure that the part of your home you claim is used regularly and exclusively for your professional purposes.

But I did find the timing intriguing.

The IRS advice comes just a few days after the indictment of one of its own for allegedly running a fake business from his home to evade taxes.

And the icing on the coincidental e-mail cake: One of the suggested additional reading items was Publication 4035, a brochure "to help taxpayers recognize home-based business tax avoidance schemes."

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