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Telecommuting: Who pays for what?

If you are considering a telecommuting position, it's best to know as soon as possible what associated costs will be paid by the employer and what they expect you to pay.

From an email I received from a TechRepublic member:

One thing about finding a job now that I never experienced 8 years ago when I came to my current employer was the possibility of telecommuting. Now, the two jobs I'm interviewing for are both jobs that would require it.

How telecommuting is typically handled in today's market? For instance, who pays for the hardware, internet & phone? How should working from home affect my salary, if it should at all?

It depends on the company. Since telecommuting is required for both positions, you should absolutely ask these questions during the interviews. Get every detail ironed out as soon as you can.

If you are going to use the Internet and the phone for personal use as well, it may be difficult to get the whole thing paid for by the company. They may reimburse part of the expense, however.

Many companies require telecommuters to come in to the office once or twice a month; you'll need to confirm this and whether the company will also pay the travel expenses. Typically, companies pay travel expenses because they consider that travel as a normal business expense, and it is in their best interest for the telecommuter to physically come in from time to time.

There are other issues to be considered as well. As a telecommuter, you may or may not qualify for a home office tax deduction. Be forewarned, however, that the rules as to who qualifies for a deduction, and the calculation for the amount of the deduction have gotten tighter. A good place to start in your research on this topic is with the IRS. Go to the IRS Web site and look for Publication 587. Good luck!

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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