The Varano Realty Group - Needham MA Real Estate

Posted by Adriano Varano on 5/15/2017

There are many benefits to living in a simple and minimal environment. Lack of clutter helps us focus and boosts our mood. Have you ever sat down at your desk at work or in your home office and felt like you just couldn't get any work done and started tidying up instead? It might be a good idea to listen to that impulse and make your work environment a more productive place. In this article we're going to give you some tips for making your home office a distraction-free, minimal sanctuary. At the same time, these tips will be low cost--minimalism and frugality go hand in hand after all.

Why minimalism?

If you're the type of person who lives in a "well-organized mess" and is able to function highly in this environment, maybe you don't need to strip things down. Or, if you feel the most comfortable in a busy room and are able to get more work done this way, maybe the busy and cozy office environment works for you. However, the majority of people don't fit that description. We tend to do our best work when we have only the necessities at had. Having a minimal home office has numerous benefits. Aside from helping you focus and adding a spacious, pleasant atmosphere to the room, minimalism can help your room look more updated and modern (increasing the value of your home), and can help you save money once you start making only the most useful purchases for your home office.

Your office as a workshop

If you work on cars in your garage and nothing else, you'll probably only want to fill your garage with the right tools for the job. This is also true for your home office. We have a tendency of putting old and extra furniture and decorations from our house into the less frequented rooms, like a home office. Look around your office. Has it become a storage room for old pillows, lamps, or furniture? If so, this is your chance to get rid of some items to clear up the room. Unlike your garage, the tools for the job needed in your home office have been extremely cut down thanks to technology. Among the items that laptops and smartphones have made obsolete:
  • filing cabinets--Google Drive and Dropbox can securely store all your documents
  • calculators--your phone and laptop have these
  • staplers
  • hole punches
  • landline telephones
  • bulletin boards
  • desktop calendars and planners
This list goes on and on. If you have the equivalent or a replacement on your laptop, there's no need to clutter your room with it.

Minimal decorating

Since simple living and minimalism are current trends there are a range of resources available to you when looking to revamp your home office. Some decorating tips to help you along the way:
  • Shop modular. Modular furniture from stores like IKEA and VITSOE are great space savers.
  • Keep your surfaces clear. Avoid the urge to cover your desk with items. That goes for tables, floors, walls, and ceilings as well.
  • Think about color. Using bright colors for your walls and ceiling will make your room feel more spacious and minimal.
  • Nature is your friend. Natural light and one or two plants will compliment any minimal space.

Posted by Adriano Varano on 4/3/2017

You generally pay taxes year round. Unless you’re taking advantage of a special deal, you pay taxes with each purchase that you make. Taxes are added onto your cable and utility bills. And, of course, taxes are deducted from your income.

You pay enough taxes, start saving with home office deductions

Work out of a home office as a small business owner and you could be responsible for reporting and paying business sales tax. Another situation when you’ll pay taxes if you work out of a home office is if you work as an independent contractor. Generally, clients won’t deduct income taxes from payments that they make to you.

In addition to paying income tax, as an independent contractor, you are responsible for paying Medicare and Social Security taxes. These taxes are typically paid to the IRS once a quarter. The start of the year is a time when you can take home office deductions, saving yourself from paying more taxes.

Home office tax deductions you could qualify for

The type of home office tax deductions that you can take depend on the type of business that you operate out of your home. If you travel a lot as part of your business, create a log to track your mileage. Also, keep a list of client and prospect names for people you conduct dining business meetings with.

Here is a list of some home office tax deductions that you might be eligible for. As with any tax deduction, check with the IRS or an experienced and certified accountant before you take the deductions.

  • Mileage – You could deduct mileage that is related to business trips. Keep a log of each trip, including where you went and the reason for the trip (i.e. ABC client year end meeting).
  • Utilities – A portion of your home office utilities could qualify as a deduction
  • Rent or mortgage – If you use a part of your home solely for business purposes, you could receive a tax deduction for the space
  • Health insurance – As an independent contractor, you may pay for your own health insurance. You could deduct your health insurance premiums off your taxes
  • Marketing and advertising expenses – This includes online and offline marketing and advertising
  • Home office supplies – Computers, copiers,papers, etc. are types of home office supplies that you could deduct
  • Shipping and handling – Keep your postage receipts, as they could be deducted

Take the right home office tax deductions

Operating a successful home office business is not cheap. Marketing, advertising and product development expenses can run into hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. If your business has attracted lots of interest, you could spend a sizable portion of money on shipping and handling and customer service support.

Be a smart business owner and file home office deductions that you are legally eligible for. Doing so could keep you from paying hundreds or more in taxes that you don’t legally have to pay. Protect yourself by keeping copies of receipts,including business related entertainment expenses, for at least seven years.

Keep an electronic and a print copy. If you aren’t sure whether or not you qualify to take a home office tax deduction, check with a certified accountant, someone who has experience filing taxes for independent contractors or small business owners. The official IRS website is another great resource to use to learn which home office tax deductions you qualify for. It is at the official IRS website where you can also find and download reporting forms like the Schedule C.