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Remove the taint from a home office

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in Small Business Tax,Small Business Tax Deduction Strategies

Q: My main computer is a laptop that I use mostly for business in my home office. But I also use the laptop personally and let my kids play games on it sometimes. Will this cost me a home-office deduction? M.R., Danville, Ill.

A: Possibly. The personal use of a computer, be it a laptop or a desktop, can taint a home-office deduction. Under a strict reading of the tax law, the home office qualifies for tax deductions if it's used "regularly and exclusively" for business. Tip: If possible, move the computer to another part of the home when it's being used personally. If moving the laptop continuously isn't practical, a better solution is to acquire another computer for the family. Then you can use your laptop exclusively for business, which solidifies your deduction and keeps peanut butter off the keyboard.

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