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4 tips for Notaries claiming home office tax deductions

A person works on their laptop in a home office while their pet cat looks out the window from the desk.

Updated 2-6-24 for 2023 tax year. April is fast approaching and Notaries want to get the most out of their 2023 tax returns. The Notary Bulletin asked Jackie Perlman, principal tax research analyst at The Tax Institute at H&R Block, for tips for those claiming a home office deduction for the 2023 tax year.

This is general information only, and every person’s tax situation can differ when it comes to general Notary tax tips and mileage deductions. If you have specific questions about your tax situation, contact the IRS or your tax advisor.

Reminder: Starting in 2018, the home office deduction is available only to self-employed taxpayers. The deduction cannot be claimed by employees because the overall deduction for employee business expenses is not available. Although many employees had to work from home for all or part of 2023 because of hybrid work arrangements, there are no changes to the law. That is, the itemized deduction for employee business expenses is still unavailable.

What are the most important steps Notaries should follow when claiming a home office deduction?

In order to claim the deduction, your home office must be used regularly and exclusively for business purposes. You must designate either a separate room in the house or an area of a room that will be devoted solely to your trade or business.

There are some exceptions to the “exclusive” test for an area used to store inventory, for instance, and also for areas used for daycare businesses.

A simplified “safe harbor” option allows you to deduct $5 per square foot to a maximum of 300 square feet (maximum deduction $1,500) without extensive recordkeeping. Extensive recordkeeping is not required for the safe harbor option, but the maximum $1,500 deduction is designated for a larger room (about 20' x 15'). If your home office is smaller, the deduction is smaller too.

What records should Notaries keep related to home office deductions?

The home office deduction allows you to claim as business expenses a portion of both deductible expenses, such as mortgage interest and real estate taxes, and otherwise nondeductible personal expenses including utilities, home insurance, repairs and depreciation. You must keep all statements and receipts to substantiate these claims.

Where is the home office deduction claimed?

Self-employed taxpayers report the expense on Schedule C, line 30. Taxpayers using the safe harbor method mentioned above can use a worksheet in the Schedule C instructions to calculate the deduction. Those not using the safe harbor must also complete Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home, to calculate the deduction.  

How will recent tax law changes impact self-employed taxpayers with a home office deduction?

There are no specific changes to the home office deduction. Note that although mortgage insurance premiums (PMI) are not treated as itemized deductions for mortgage interest,  Notaries who calculate the actual home office deduction (i.e. don’t use the safe harbor) may use a portion of PMI allocated to the home office deduction.

For other 2023 changes affecting self-employed taxpayers see the “What’s new?” section of the Schedule C instructions. Since taxes change year-over-year consider using a tax professional experienced in small business returns.

David Thun is the Editorial Manager at the National Notary Association.

Related Articles:

Three things to avoid in your home office

5 income tax tips for Notaries and Signing Agents

Additional Resources:

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Add your comment

Judy Taylor

28 Feb 2016

What about miles driven? If I have a permanent notary sign in my car window with my phone number, am I allowed to claim all the mileage in my state as advertising?

National Notary Association

29 Feb 2016

Hello. For more information about claiming mileage deductions, please see our article "A Notary's Guide For Claiming Mileage Deductions At Tax Time":

Chuck Alexander

12 Mar 2018

Thank You for lnformtion on Notary tax credit.


10 Feb 2020

Can you claim a home office deduction if you are working from home meet all the requirements but are renting not buying?

National Notary Association

11 Feb 2020

Hello. You would need to contact a tax professional or the IRS to answer this question.

Curt Kuhl

24 Oct 2022

good articles.. would like to know your opinion on deduction for life insurance for self imployed using a home office.

National notary Association

24 Oct 2022

Hello. You would need to contact your insurance provider directly to answer any questions on that topic.

Bonnie mesa

13 Feb 2023

Where on the 1040 do I entered the loss from my schedule c, which line

National Notary Association

14 Feb 2023

Hello. We're sorry, but we can't answer specific questions about your income tax returns; we can only provide general information. For specific questions about filling out sections of your tax forms, please contact the IRS or a qualified tax preparer.

Margaret the Tax Lady

11 Mar 2024

You can deduct *employee* life insurance premiums for group term life insurance up to $50,000 of coverage. No other life insurance is ever deductible. Renting is definitely allowed for the home office. No, you can’t claim all of your mileage just by putting a sign in the window. If you don’t know where the loss goes on a schedule C, please hire an enrolled agent or other tax preparer. It’s not worth doing it incorrectly when you’re self employed. This post is general in nature and not meant to be tax advice for any individual situation. Margaret

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