Coffee heat rising

Charging Costs to Your In-Home Business

So over at the Depot I got these nifty (read “cheap”) motion-sensitive coach lights for the front of the house. Yesterday Dave the Electrician came over, hard-wired them, and got them working right. The equally cheap nifty lights I installed when I moved in here five years ago are crumbling away under the radioactive Arizona sunlight.

But more to the point, the  house has been rewired by some moronic former owner so that two of the three lights in front have to be turned on from inside the garage. When the house was built, one switch next to the front door turned them all on. Why anyone would change this escapes me. I suspect it was Satan and Proserpine‘s idea. “Green” was their affectation, and one way they liked to manifest that was with few and dim lights. As long as he was dorking with the electric (for reasons unknown, Satan imagined he was a great electrical handyman) (don’t ask about the DIY 220-volt outlet!), he probably figured he could save electricity by wiring two of the lights into the garage, thereby allowing him to turn on only one light to cut down lawsuits from evening guests tripping over the threshold.

Which brings us to the day’s point: Can I get away with having the S-corporation pay for the new fixtures?

I believe I can. Here’s why:

1. The office, which has a hardened lock on a solid-core door, is now accessible by burglars only through a front window. This window is lighted solely by the front lights. The nearest street lamp is on the other side of the house, and the trees in the front yard shelter the office window from easy view. Thus at night access to the office is facilitated by darkness.

2. The only things of value in the building are inside the office, which, in my absence, is otherwise locked behind a contraption designed to break a burglar’s drill bit—or his foot, should he try to kick his way in.

I have no jewelry of any note. My baubles by and large come from the craft store.
The sound system is an ancient stereo that no one would pay money for today.
The television is an old TV/computer monitor my son had in San Francisco, tiny and antique. At a yard sale it would bring about ten bucks.
The furniture is 50 years old. It does not qualify as “antique.” It qualifies as “used furniture.”

3. Besides the fact that the only marketable goods in the house are inside the office, the entire value of my business consists of the data stored on its computer, external hard drive, and flash drives. The very existence of the S-corp would be put at risk if someone came in the office’s window and cleaned out all the electronic gear.

4. The neighborhood is under siege from burglars and home invaders. I can prove this by the constant stream of alerts, warnings, and reports from the police and the head of the neighborhood association.

5. Therefore, installing security lights on the front of the house is crucial to maintaining the security and integrity of the business.

These little lights, which probably will last about as long as the crumbling cheapies they replaced, are great. If anybody comes up to the front of the house, they pop on, so that I can look out a window and actually see who or what is out there.

In the previous regime, if I heard something in the night I could only turn on one light, which did not illuminate the courtyard. There’s no way I’m going to walk into the garage to turn on the other two lights, not if there’s even the remotest possibility that someone’s prowling around outside. The garage has a side door. Even though I put a security door over it, I have to go in and out that side very morning to water the plants, and half the time I forget to flip the deadbolt shut when I come back in. Sometimes I re-enter the house through the back door and forget to close the security door altogether. So, in the middle of the night, opening the door from the kitchen to the garage is an invitation for the burglar to come right in.

Lights that come on automatically if there’s anyone sneaking around out there will allow me to see the person and call 911. And they should deter burglars from breaking in the office window when I’m out.

I like these, because they’re open on the bottom, allowing me to change the bulb without having to deconstruct the whole fixture. Amazon has a cheaper motion-sensitive coach light, but you have to take it apart to change the bulb. That entails work, which goes against my principles.

Now, while it’s true that the new fixtures light the residential part of the house as well as the room devoted to the office, the fact is the only things of any value inside the house are in the office, and if those things are lost, the corporation goes bust. So, I think it’s reasonable to argue that the fixtures can be expensed through the corporation.