To begin with, some landscaping and pest control eligibility is dependent on where your business operates. For instance, running a startup from your home is different from running a business out of a commercial office building.
If you work from home, then you need to consider direct and indirect expenses. Direct expenses are any expenses that directly benefit the “office” portion of your home. By comparison, indirect expenses serve both the office and the home as well. So, with regards to pest control, yes it benefits your home, but it also benefits the office. This would be an indirect expense. As such, you need to separate what’s spent on your office versus your home. You need to factor in labor and sq. footage to calculate your taxes.
If I own income properties, then is landscaping and pest control tax deductible?
With a rental property (or any other type of real estate business), the rules are indeed different. For a rental property, the IRS gives the option of deducting landscaping, pest control, or any other expenses considered “ordinary”; basically, anything that is necessary to maintain the property you rent out to people.
This extends beyond pest control and can include things like:
- mold removal,
- interior/exterior painting,
- piping fixtures.
If the property is on the market (and available to rent), then it doesn’t matter if it’s occupied or not. For business owners working out of a commercial property (under normal circumstances), the same applies and you will deduct it as a cost under maintenance.
One thing to note is expenses can only be deducted in the year they are paid, regardless of when the service was conducted. For instance, if you hired pest control in November of 2019 but you paid the bill in January 2020, you will deduct the pest control expenses while filing your 2020 returns.
For those with a home office, when it is time to file your taxes, rest a little easier knowing all your home improvement chores can assuage some of the cost of your next tax return.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you write off landscaping as a business expense?
Yes. In the case of a rental property, the ongoing maintenance and improvements to your lawn and garden qualify as tax deductible.
If however, you want to write off your personal landscaping, then no, you can’t deduct those expenses. There’s a gray area however when it comes to a home office. If you meet clients at your home, and a portion of your home is already deducted as a home office, then the area outside your home office is deductible.
Can you write off a cat as pest control?
It’d be an uphill battle, but yes. There’s a few scenarios wherein writing a pet off as a tax deduction applies. For example, if you run a business and there is no other way to eliminate pests except for a cat, then you may be able to write off the pet’s food as deductible. For instance, if you work on a boat (where it’s nigh guaranteed to come with rats), then a cat may be the only option. In a slightly more relatable scenario, if you live in an area where there’s some HOA rules against pesticides or rat poison, then you may be able to write off the food expenses for a cat. Similar policy for guard dogs.
Can you claim termite expenses on taxes?
Yes. Termites, wasps, rats, ants, all matter of pest removal services can be considered deduction on a rental property.
If a portion of your home is owned and operated as a home office, then the percentage of your home office is the same percentage you can write off for pest control. So if 15% of the house is your home office and there’s a wasp nest on your property, then you can deduct 15% of the total expense. So if it’s $1,000 to remove the nest, you’d be able to deduct $150.