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Home office? Here’s what you need to know about the mileage deduction

7823319 - traffic jams in the cityIf you drive your car for work, you can take a deduction on your tax return based on either the standard mileage rate or the actual expenses related to the business use of your vehicle. However, commuting to and from your principal place of business is never deductible. How does that change if your home is your principal place of business?

Many people work primarily from home but occasionally travel to another work location, a client’s office, a business seminar, or run other business-related errands. In these cases, the first thing to do is establish your home as the principal place of business.

Your home office will qualify as your principal place of business if it is the place where you earn most of your income or perform the administrative and management tasks for your business. Simply having a home office will not qualify. If you have a home office that is used occasionally, but most of your work is done from another location, the costs of driving from home to another location is not deductible.

Generally, if you are eligible to claim the home office deduction on your tax return, then your home office is your primary place of business and any expenses to travel to other temporary locations for work may be deductible.

Keep in mind that any business-related travel must be documented in order for a deduction to be allowed. You’ll need to keep detailed records of your travel, either by using a mileage log or tracking mileage using an app. If you’re claiming actual expenses for your vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rate, you’ll still need to keep records of mileage and you’ll also need to maintain records and receipts for expenses such as oil and fuel, repairs and maintenance, insurance and registration.

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