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A simpler home office deduction

A bill circulating through Congress aims to ease the process of writing off expenses for a home office.

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(Fortune Small Business) -- Nearly half of American firms are home-based businesses. But according to a National Federation of Independent Business survey, only 46% of them take a home office tax credit.

Why are they balking? The deduction process -- which involves measuring the office as a percentage of home size and multiplying relevant expenses by that fraction -- is just too complicated, the survey found.

To ease the process, Reps. John McHugh, R-N.Y., and Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., introduced the Home Office Deduction Simplification Act last spring. The bill would create a standard $1,500 deduction, which owners could opt for over the messier version. It would translate into a tax savings of about $500 for those who aren't currently taking the deduction, says Keith Hall, tax adviser for the National Association for the Self-Employed.

Similar bills have died in Congress before, but there's hope this time around: Twenty-eight representatives -- twice as many as last year -- are cosponsoring the current version.

"Every dollar spent on an excessively burdensome tax process is a dollar not spent on hiring new workers," Schrader said.  To top of page

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