United States tax law says that to claim a deduction for a home office, the space must be "regularly and exclusively" used for business purposes.
Does "exclusively" here mean absolutely 100%? Like, suppose someone had a home office, worked there 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, and one day while sitting in his home office he gets a toothache so he spends 10 minutes calling his dentist to make an appointment. Does he lose the deduction for the year because of 10 minutes out of 2000+ hours?
(BTW, someone might say, Go ahead and claim the deduction. How would the IRS ever know you made that phone call? But let's assume we're going to be completely honest on our tax return here. I'm asking what the rules are, not what rule-breaking I might get away with.)
I work from home. My employer no longer even has an office, all the employees work from home. When I got the job I set aside a room in my house to be my office. I've never claimed a home office deduction, but I wonder if I could. In my case, I have a printer in my office that I use for both personal and business purposes. I never saw any point in having a separate printer for personal use in another room. Sometimes after work I will read news web sites or search the Internet for jokes. Etc. Is there some rule about "minimal personal use"? Or some standard that 90% of the time (or whatever number) you're in that room you must be working? Or some "reasonableness standard"?
It seems to me that if "exclusively" is taken absolutely literally 100%, that almost no one would could legitimately claim a home office deduction.