10 tax audit red flags

From being too charitable to claiming the home office deduction, beware these tax audit red flags.

You deduct your home office

audit red flags home office

The home office deduction is one of the most complicated and abused deductions in the tax code, which is one of the reasons the IRS is introducing a new, simplified option for claiming it this year.

In the past, taxpayers who claimed the home office deduction were required to fill out a separate form calculating the percentage of their home's space used solely for the business and the percentage of expenses that apply to the office, which can be very complicated to figure out.

But starting this year, you can simply claim $5 per square foot of workspace, up to 300 square feet. The deduction will be capped at $1,500 per year and the form for claiming it will be simplified.

That doesn't mean there isn't still room for error, however. The IRS's definition of a home office remains unchanged, and this is where a lot of people get confused or try to stretch the rules. So remember, just because you work from home a couple days a week or check work emails from your kitchen doesn't mean you can claim the home office deduction. Your home office must be your primary place of business and used exclusively for work.

- Last updated June 03 2014 01:29 PM ET
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