Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Try New, Simple Home Office Deduction

 As of this year (for income tax returns filed in 2014) people with home based businesses no longer have to worry about how-and how much-to deduct on their annual income tax return.

You may use a new, simplified option when figuring the deduction for business use from your home office. The IRS says it won't change the criteria for who may claim a home office deduction. But it does simplify the calculation and record-keeping requirements of the allowable deduction.

Simply put, the standard deduction is $5 per square foot of home used only for business, with the maximum 300 square feet. 

The best news is that you no longer have to maintain records and account for all actual expenses incurred by the business.

There's always a downside, and this one is that you will no longer be allowed to claim a depreciation deduction for the portion of the home used for business. So it follows that you can't recapture any depreciation for gain upon the sale of the home either.


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