Want to store medical practice documents in your garage and claim an office in home deduction? Think again.

While not a specific physician-related tax case, I can see similarities in the fact pattern should a physician ever want to store medical practice documents in his or her garage. The taxpayer owned a smog inspection station in California. By law, he was required to keep certain invoices and records regarding smog checks for at least three years. Because the station lacked office space, the taxpayer stored the inspection invoices and other business-related items in a shared two-car garage attached to his personal residence. On his federal income tax returns for the years at issue, the taxpayer claimed home office expense deductions for the use of his garage. He argued this was the most convenient and inexpensive place to store the records. The IRS disallowed the deductions under IRC Sec. 280A(a). The Tax Court sided with the IRS, finding that the taxpayer's garage wasn't used exclusively as his principal place of business. Also, he didn't qualify for an exception that pertains to the storage of inventory or product samples that are sold at retail or wholesale. Mohammad Najafpir , TC Memo 2018-103 (Tax Ct.).

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