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<<Hi all, and thanks to all the experts...I was able to find lots of info here that helped me with 1999's return.>>

Glad we could be of service.

<< Anyway, I'd like to actually plan ahead for taxes 2000 (what a concept!)>>

Very Foolish...

<< and have home office questions:
I have 2 businesses: one with inventory, one without. I would like to set up part of my spare room as the office for my non-inventory business (hospital based, self employed physician) where I will do scheduling, continuing education, basic administrative stuff. With the new guidelines, I think I meet all of the requirements now.>> sounds like you've already reviewed all of the office in home issue and are familar with them. So far so good.

<<I know the office space has to be exclusive, but does the computer I use have to be exclusive also?>>

Technically yes. If you use the office for things OTHER than business, you have failed the exclusive use test. If you have a desktop computer, and use the computer for something other than business, you could very well be in violation of the exclusive use tests. Now then...a laptop would be a different story.

<< Would it be OK to buy a laptop and use it in my office for doctor stuff, then take it elsewhere to work on my inventory business?>>

You're already one step ahead of me, my friend. That would be just fine. No problem.

<< What about personal use of this computer?>>

What about it? Just make sure to have your personal use in the living room...and not in the office. Personal use in and of itself will not disqualify the compter from being at least a partial business asset. I have a post in the Taxes FAQ area dealing with computers and deductions. YOu might want to check it out.

<< I don't expect to deduct the computer, but will that mess up the exclusivity of my office?>>

Nope...not as long as you remove the computer from the office before you begin your personal use on it.

<<Also, since my inventory business is really small, the percentage of my mortgage, utilities, etc, would be almost nothing....I probably won't bother to claim a home office for that business. Am I missing some potential benefits?>>

Not really...other than the small percentages that you could generate through an office in home deduction. But if you have ever tried to prepare multiple office in home forms, you'll find that it can be a real paid. So if the "lost" deductions are small, it might not be worth the effort. But only you can make that decision.

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