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Expenses you can write off when you work from home

Cleaning supplies. Just as in a conventional office, maintenance costs are legitimate write-offs—provided they’re for your workspace only, not for other areas of your home that you may have spruced up during a recent reno. (Collin Anderson/Flickr)

What you can deduct on your taxes if you work from home

As the number of people working for themselves continues to grow, more Canadians are working from home. With tax season here, those stay-at-home workers will want to start thinking about what they can write off as tax expenses.

Be careful not to push your luck, however; outrageous expenses won’t fly.

“When we see things on the books that stand out, we bring it to clients’ attention, saying ‘This is going to be hammered in an audit, and you—not us—have to be able to justify that this is for business use,” says North Vancouver certified public accountant Christian Stewart of Stewart + Associates. “It’s a question of fact in many cases.”

And remember that can only deduct a portion of expenses incurred, relative to the part of your home you actually use to conduct business.

“To calculate the percentage of workspace-in-the-home expenses you can deduct, use a reasonable basis, such as the area of the work space divided by the total finished area (including hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, etc.),” the Canada Revenue Agency says on its website.

For example, say your home has 2,000 total square feet of usable space and your home office takes up 200 square feet. The percentage of the home allocated for office space would be 10 per cent. If your total home-office expenses come to $20,000, your deduction would be $2,000.

Click through the gallery to see some expenses that the CRA does allow.