Small Business Wednesday — Daycares and the Home Office Deduction

Many in-home daycare providers wonder about the home office deduction. This article will explore the rules for qualifying for the deduction, and how to calculate the deduction.

Do You Qualify?

You qualify for the deduction if you are a licensed daycare provider. If you are not licensed, you can still qualify for the deduction but only if you are not required to be licensed under state law. If you ARE required to be licensed but are not licensed, then you don’t qualify for the deduction.

What Expenses Qualify

Almost any expense associated with your home can qualify for a deduction. Examples include:

  • Mortgage interest or rent.
  • Property taxes.
  • Maintenance and upkeep.
  • Depreciation.

Calculating the Deduction

There are two percentages you need to know: the square-footage percentage and the time percentage.

  • The square-footage percentage is the percentage of your home that is used as a daycare. So if you use 750 square feet of your 1,000 square foot house for your daycare, your percentage is 75%. (NOTE: any part of your house that is used even a little bit for your daycare counts. So if you sometimes do laundry for your daycare, you can count the square footage of the laundry area. Some of the daycares I deal with have a 100% percentage in this part.)
  • The time percentage is calculated as: number of hours your house was used as a daycare, divided by the number of hours in the year. So if your home is used 2,000 hours, your percentage would be 2,000/8,760 = 22.8%.
  • Then, you multiply your square-footage percentage by the time percentage. In our example, this would be 75% x 22.8% = 17.1%.
The result (17.1% in our example) is the percentage of costs you get to deduct. So you calculate all your home-related expenses and then multiply by 17.1%. That is the amount of deduction you can take for your home expenses.
Cautions and Notes:
  • The deduction is generally limited to no more than the amount of income from your business.
  • If a particular area of your home is used 100% for daycare purposes and never for personal purposes, the calculation is different.
  • For anyone reading this who is NOT an in-home daycare: this discussion ONLY applies to in-home daycares; the home-office deduction rules are totally different for other types of businesses.