When you use a portion of your residence exclusively and on a regular basis either as the principal place of your business or as a place to meet with clients or customers, you are entitled to claim a home-office deduction.
Eligibility rules, however, are rigid. The key words in the criteriare "principal place" of business or "meeting with clients or customers." If you cannot comply with one of these basic rules, forget it.
Once you can satisfy these rigid standards, however, you can compute the deduction.
Unfortunately, you still will face some limitations.
(Myron Lubell is a certified public accountant and associate professor of accounting and taxation at Florida International University. Send questions in care of Business Monday, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132.)