Technology is all around us. More and more people are using mobile devices and electronic gadgets at work to improve productivity. Because we are connected just about anywhere anymore, workers are no longer bound to an office or stationed at a desk. Instead, many employees can work basically wherever they want.
In order to be up to date and have a truly functional mobile office, you need to have the latest electronics and purchasing the devices can be costly. However, gadgets like computers, tablets, and smart phones may qualify for deduction as an employee expense. It all depends on how you use them and why you need them.
Ordinary and Necessary
Specialized equipment for certain industries may be deductible as long as they are considered ordinary and necessary according to guidelines set by the IRS. Ordinary expenses are those that are commonly accepted in your business, profession, or industry. Necessary expenses are those that help you better perform your job. In item doesn’t have to be required for it to be considered a necessary expense.
For a mobile office, you can think of your electronic devices as being in one of three categories:
- Hardware – tablets, smart phones, cell phones, computers and the like
- Peripherals – scanners, fables, printers, and cases
- Connectivity – modem, dated expenses, Internet Service, and Wi-Fi devices
If your job supplies you with the cellphone, it’s generally considered a fringe benefit. This happens in cases when the cell phone is granted to the employee as a substantial business reason, which can be:
- Employee needs to remain in constant contact at all times for work related emergencies
- The employee must be available to clients even when outside the office
- reason to contact clients outside of the normal time zone in which the employee works
Your electronic expense must meet two different requirements in order to be deductible:
- The use of this item provide a substantial business benefit to your employer. Use while working for your employer, generally is considered that your employer receives the convenience and benefit of the computer.
- The item is required for you to be employed, meaning it is difficult to perform job functions without it.