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3 Things To Avoid In Your Home Office

A mother cradling her infant while sitting in front of a laptop computer

Updated 4-10-23. Working from home can be rewarding for Notaries, but it's still a workspace, and you need to treat it that way. Here are three important things to avoid when working out of your home:

  1. Don't use your home office for non-business activities.
  2. Don't let your family use your work devices to play games or for non-work activities.
  3. Don't keep pets in your home office when meeting clients there.

1. Don’t use your workspace for non-business activities.

Keep your work area free of distractions. It may sound nice to be able to watch your favorite reality show while you catch up on paperwork, but you run the risk of veering away from your important tasks. If children, family members or pets are coming in and out of your work area, it’s even harder to get work done. Also, don’t forget that the IRS requires a home office to be used exclusively and regularly as your principal place of business or as a meeting place for clients and customers in order to be claimed as an income tax deduction. Letting other family members use your workspace can potentially disqualify it for a deduction. Contact the IRS or a qualified tax professional for more information.

2. Don’t let your family members use your work computers and mobile devices for recreational purposes.

If you keep your financial and client information on an electronic device in your home work area, make sure that other family members understand that the device is for business only. Remember, you are responsible for safeguarding your customers' sensitive information such as addresses, phone numbers and other private data. Letting family members use your work devices could give them access to this data, causing a possible breach of customer privacy, or a relative might accidentally delete your important work files. Also, if a family member unintentionally infects your device with malware or viruses, your customer information could be stolen by hackers. You may want to consider a good encryption program for your business records as a precaution.

3. Don’t keep pets in your work area if meeting clients at your home for notarizations.

Remember, some clients may be allergic to or uncomfortable around animals. If meeting clients at your home, be sure that any pets are kept secure in a yard or another part of the home.

David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.

Related Articles:

4 Tips For Notaries Claiming Home Office Tax Deductions


Add your comment

Theresa Reyes

18 Apr 2022

Thank you so much for these helpful tips!!


20 Apr 2022


Debora Ann Garcia

10 May 2022

Thank you for the great tips

Sabriena Hill Felix

08 Nov 2022

Great Advice

Norma R Alvarado

21 Mar 2023

These articles are very informative to me and to others Thank you so much Norma Alvarado


24 Apr 2023

Excellent article. Thank you.

24 Apr 2023

These articles are very helpful. I want to become a Signing Agent. Thanks, Shirley Thompson

National Notary Association

24 Apr 2023

Thank you, we're glad you found them helpful! You an find out more information about becoming a Signing Agent here:

James Beauchamp

24 Apr 2023

Great, thanks for the tips, makes total sense

Janet Sutton

24 Apr 2023

Thank you for the tips It is very helpful.


25 Apr 2023

Thank you for the very helpful information. I'm in California. As it relates to home offices and claiming them for tax purposes, do you know if there is an inspextion of sorts via the IRS to qualify a particular room/area as an office, or what the criteria may be? Thank you again, BK

National Notary Association

26 Apr 2023

Hello. We would recommend you contact the IRS directly or speak with a qualified tax preparer for information on this topic.

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