@chienfou@PocketBrain Is that 30% pre-covid workforce or post-covid? Itemization is no longer as beneficial as it was because now the deductions must exceed the individual exemption to make itemization worthwhile.
That said, the simplification means far less paperwork/receipts must be kept from a record-keeping and tax prep perspective. For that, I won’t miss that part.
@chienfou@PocketBrain It also neglects the effects of WFH on things like worker’s compensation and work safety issues, since employers know OSHA won’t be inspecting people’s homes, and workers won’t be investing in workplace safety capabilities and protections like they would in a formal workplace setting.
Not to mention weird liability conflicts with commercial “work” acts and “off-work” acts, supervisory regulation, and even zoning laws and “nexus” issues.
It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, and there will be unintended consequences while we transition instititions, the economy, and the labor force on this wholesale macro way.
I’m not so sure it’s … a wash. I think the jury is still out, good, bad, or chaotic neutral.
@Limewater@PocketBrain The other issue is from the management point of view. It is significantly harder to manage remotely. If part of the workforce is remote and part is not research has documented that the remote folks tend to get overlooked with promotions or desired assignments, are less connected to the social networks at work and get less information informally (and so end up with less information). Of course an individual manager may do a good job, but on average this is the situation.
Then there is the whole workplace office IT provisioning practices that are upended with mass WFH. No more, get a desk, a phone line, a desktop, and an ethernet port, all run on corporate infrastructure. It doesn’t exactly transition to VPNs and give everyone a laptop and a headset.
There’s just as much chaos in work-from-home as there is in virtual classrooms. I just don’t think anyone knows if that’s good or bad or whether whatever our tax code is can map the incentives and penalties efficiently or effectively - either as-is or if Congress tinkers with it.
I think most people don’t have to worry too much about OSHA violations for their homes during WFH. It’s not like a bunch of factory workers or construction workers are doing WFH.
Your other points though are something to be considered/addressed. Not sure how the zoning issues, time/attendance laws etc. will impact the capability to WFH if the powers that be decide to enforce them.
now the deductions must exceed the individual exemption to make itemization worthwhile.
actually, since there is no more personal exemption (except for blindness etc) that’s not really true. The deductions must exceed the “standard deduction” to make itemization worthwhile (which was always the case)
As for pre or post CoViD, those represent numbers from the 2019 tax yr I believe.
@chienfou You would be surprised. How many of those Etsy masks and other products do you think were made in a commercial workspace setting back in summer? Or were they made at home and in people’s “garage-turned-factory”.
I doubt workplace safety rules, chemicals safety, fumes, etc were even monitored like they would in a machine shop or garment factory. Much less be able to make a workman’s comp claim if you were injured at “work” in your garage or spare room.
The deductions must exceed the “standard deduction” to make itemization worthwhile (which was always the case)
Yes, but with the Trump/Republican Tax Cuts, the standard deduction was raised and as a result, eliminated a lot of that itemization. I was one of those, and it was a lot of paperwork for not much deduction before.
What that means is the OPs comment about deducting WFH expenses isn’t really a thing, since even fewer people will itemize in a post-Covid world.
And 1099 gig work really screws over the workers who get zero benefit tax-wise and employers don’t share any of the savings over employees (even part-time) in the form of higher pay to 1099s.
while I might agree with you that dropping the personal exemption costs most of us in the long run, the reality of it is that for the vast majority of folks it is hard to meet/exceed the $$ value of the standard deduction, so you come out ahead by claiming it.
“workplace safety rules, chemicals safety, fumes, etc were even monitored like they would in a machine shop or garment factory.”
I don’t think anything was monitored in the factories I worked in for decades except to have fire extinguishers. We certainly didn’t have chemical safety or air filters.
Many people who started making masks at home have much nicer sewing rooms! They also don’t report all of their income.
@chienfou@mike808 Working from home may mean people have to pay for faster internet or more data. Employers may not reimburse for that. They may need to buy more data for their phone if the employer doesn’t provide a work phone. There may be other things they have to buy if the employer doesn’t provide that stuff. The way employers are handling this is all over the map.
Another problem is that people may not have a room to use as a dedicated office or even a place to use as a quiet office or a place they can keep kids from messing up when they are home.
Having increased business expenses without being able to increase their “net” income (because they still don’t clear the standard deduction) may be perceived as unfair and for some may be a hardship. Transportation savings may not make up the difference.
I have also read that keystroke tracking on work computers has increased along with “micro managing” by being required to keep one’s camera on one’s computer turned on at all times and the microphone unmuted. While there are plenty of work places that do keystroke tracking in the workplace, most don’t also “spy” on their employees via cameras and microphones. This tends to tick off employees and affects moral.
There are many issues that need to be worked out if this turns into something permanent for many employees. My niece was notified that her company is going to permanent remote working as they are not renewing the lease on the building where her office is. That will have fall out in the real estate industry. She is not so thrilled since their rental is cramped, no real office space unless she puts 3 teens of both sexes in the same bedroom (rest of the house is ‘open design’) and she says it is harder and more time consuming to do some of her job remotely.
@chienfou@mike808@Thumperchick I wasn’t trying to make this political either. I was talking about management, issues of working at home and how the current tax code may mean less net income for some who are working remotely. Not aware of how any of that is political.
Working exclusively from home, I am saving almost $700 a month in commuting costs (using the IRS’s $0.575 per mile rate). That doesn’t even count the physical/mental health benefits. Net win for me, IMHO.
@macromeh I’m glad for those who feel it’s a benefit (such as you )
And I feel fortunate that my work (and income) has been steady.
But working from home has been a beat-down. I live less than a mile from the office/factory, so there’s no commuter offset. Sharing our smallish house with another adult WFH + 2 teenagers struggling to learn from teachers who mostly have no idea how educate remotely, plus a dog & a cat not used to having humans around every minute has definitely been a physical/mental health NEGATIVE.
And none of us is able to accomplish anywhere near our potential in this environment