Tax Deductions for Architects

by Fraser Sherman
Travel to a job site is deductible at a rate of 56.5 cents a mile as of 2013.

Travel to a job site is deductible at a rate of 56.5 cents a mile as of 2013.

In the business taxation world, some deductions are universal, such as buying office supplies. Other deductions are specialized -- not every profession requires continuing education. Some deductions are unique to one field. The tax breaks for architects include a mix of all of these. If you're self-employed, you deduct them on Schedule C. Employees deduct unreimbursed business expenses on Schedule A, after subtracting subtracting 2 percent of their adjusted gross income from the total amount.

Learning and Licensing

If you're not an architect yet, getting an architectural degree is not a business expense. Once you've begun work, though, you can write off education to improve your skills or to meet a continuing-education license requirement. Even education that's not architecture-focused may be deductible -- a marketing seminar to promote yourself better, for instance, or a class in time management. The costs of getting and renewing your state license are also deductible.

Work Space

If you work out of a home office, you can write off a percentage of your home costs. If 10 percent of the house is solely for work, for instance, you can deduct 10 percent of your home's mortgage interest, taxes, insurance and utility bills. You can also write off desks, computers and other office equipment. The Section 179 deduction lets you write off equipment immediately, or you can deduct depreciation on your purchases gradually over a number of years.

Special Projects

As an architect, you can claim some write-offs other businesses can't. If you design buildings for the public sector, for instance, you can take a "179D" deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot if the project exceeds energy-efficiency standards by 50 percent. Public-sector projects include work for schools, military and government buildings. The customer has to sign off on you taking the deduction and a third party has to make the energy-efficiency review.

Travel

Driving from your office to see a client or visit a construction site is tax deductible. As of 2013, the rate is 56.5 cents per mile for business travel. Parking and tolls are deductible too. If you leave town on a job and stay overnight, you can write off travel, lodging and half the cost of meals, provided the costs are not "lavish." If you combine business and pleasure travel, the IRS expects you to separate out the fun stuff and not deduct it.

About the Author

A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.

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