Has anyone tried to get help from a CPA through Expert Services (not an EA)? I am on hold now, after speaking to two different people who were ready to help me but not CPAs. Over ten minutes on hold waiting for a CPA to help me. My taxes are complex, and frankly if I am paying for Expert Services, I want an expert -- a CPA. Ah, EA just came back on line. Said she can't find a CPA to help me.
You realize that an EA (Enrolled Agent) only does taxes, its what they specialize in....where as a CPA is an Accountant, not all of them prepare taxes. You may be better suited with an EA for a complex tax situation.
Thanks. I guess that makes sense... I did talk to an EA and thought the advice was good. But since then have spoken to a CPA to double check the advice and got different advice which I believe is the correct advice. Sigh. If only you could get the same answer (and correct answer) from everyone! My question was about whether I can use my home office (for which I am getting a deduction and is linked to my consulting business) for both my consulting business and to manage my rental properties. The EA said I could, as long as I was using the office for business. Then, in another call where I actually did get a CPA on the line, the CPA spent some time on this question and felt that the IRS states exclusive use for the home office deduction for the consulting, and so that I can't use it to also manage my rentals. I believe that word "exclusive" is probably important, and think she is probably correct. The IRS doesn't seem to think that managing rental properties requires an office, unfortunately! Anyway, I appreciate the input but am not ready to rule out asking for help from a CPA just yet...
I think you will find the answer to your question in IRS Publication 537 (page 5-6).
The IRS specifically states "the same home office can be the principal place of business for two or more separate business activities." It then follows with further details that clarify you can use the same home office for more than one business. The key to the exclusivity test is that you are not using the home office for both business and personal reasons - that it is being used exclusively for business purposes.
You also can't deduct the same expenses for both businesses. You would need to apportion the expenses between your separate businesses.
You can review the same information posted on a TurboTax FAQ on the matter.