I am currently working as a freelancer in Belgium for a company developing computer software. In the contract it says that the work is done at client's office and each day I work from the office. I've rented an apartment and the landlord allows me to register it as a business address. My accountant said I can deduct the taxes for 25% of the rent for the apartment if I move the computer office in the bedroom.

In case of a fiscal control(not sure of the name in EU, in US is IRS), is it ok to say that I regularly connect remotely to work from home although in the work contract it says I must work at client's office? Are there any other ways I can prove that this deduction is valid?

Thank you!

  • It seems to me that the deduction would not be valid, as your contract explicitly prohibits you working from home. However, I am not familiar with the laws in the U.S., so I'll leave it to someone else to answer. – ChrisInEdmonton Mar 19 '13 at 18:18
  • What country are you talking about? IRS is the US tax agency, yet you tagged "European Union"... – littleadv Mar 20 '13 at 2:15
  • "European Union" is not enough; each country has its own rules for income tax, and you need to say exactly where you live and work (which may be different). – Mike Scott Mar 27 '13 at 16:05
  • Some EU countries eg the UK gave allowances for contractors working from home basically an allowance for the cost of heating and lighting I certainly had a small deduction on my last contract – Pepone Sep 28 '14 at 17:20

This answer is assuming you're in the US, which apparently you're not. I doubt that the rules in the EU are significantly different, but I don't know for sure.

In case of an IRS control, is it ok to say that I regularly connect remotely to work from home although in the work contract it says I must work at client's office?


Are there any other ways I can prove that this deduction is valid?

No. You can't prove something is valid when its not.

You can only deduct home office expense if it is used exclusively for your business, and your bedroom obviously is not.

  • 5
    "Change accountant" is certainly the right course of action if they are advising you to commit fraud and tax evasion. – ChrisInEdmonton Mar 19 '13 at 19:09
  • You both see OP is from EU? Even so, can't imagine a home office is allowed when company contract says the work is done at the company, not home. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Mar 20 '13 at 1:54
  • @Joe hmmm, missed that... Why IRS then? – littleadv Mar 20 '13 at 1:55
  • Good question. No idea. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Mar 20 '13 at 2:14

You can do it, provided that the bedroom is ONLY set up as an office. That is, no bed, TV or other stuff. You can stretch it a bit, considering a TV is also a monitor, a couch is also a visitor couch.

Whatever route you choose you have to be able to justify what everything is doing there in case of a visit from the authorities.

I am (was) in exactly the same situation for two years and had no problem deducting ~30% of the housing costs. That is, the usage of bathroom and utilities is calculated as proportional to the surface area given to the office.

It might make more sense to move into a larger apartment just so you can have one designated office room.

Edit: the above applies in Germany, YMMV, IANAL, etc. EU is pretty consistent though in regulations and as far as I know the above aplies in most EU countries.

  • There was confusion about where the asker was from (Belgium). Are you in Belgium? Is so, mention that in your answer. When you say, you, "... had no problem deducting ~30% of the housing costs.", do you mean that a tax professional in the asker's country told you it's OK, or that the tax agency in Belgium sent you a letter/had a phone call with you to this effect, or simply that you did it, and there were no questions asked of you by an authority? – Richard Krajunus Mar 27 '13 at 21:13
  • I'm located in Germany but don't have a citizenship here. I assume the same thing applies to the asker. – brainwash Mar 28 '13 at 1:30
  • It sounds like the German rules are exactly the same as the US, which makes sense. I expect Belgium to conform as well. – littleadv Mar 28 '13 at 1:45

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