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Employee out of pocket office rent

I have a client who is an employee of a Chinese company that has no offices in the US. He is paid by an intermediary company, will receive a W-2 from the intermediary and has to pay out of pocket for office rent and other expenses like telephone, supplies, etc. He is in NY and pays NY Taxes also.

With the tax law change of 2018 eliminating deductions for Employee Business Expenses (Form 2106) for all but four exceptions; Does anyone see an additional exception that would allow deducting the out of pocket expense since he does not get reimbursed for the office expenses? The only way he can avoid the out of pocket expense is to work from home, which he doesn't want to do. Any help would be appreciated.

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Level 15

"The only way he can avoid the out of pocket expense is to work from home, which he doesn't want to do."

If he has the option to work from home and doesn't want to do it, he is just SOL for his expenses.  

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Level 12

China is a red herring.  Same result if the employer is in Chino, California.  The employer should set up a reimbursable plan.  Tell them he wants $5,000 less salary and $5,000 in accountable expenses.  It will save them money too.  

Level 15

"since he does not get reimbursed for the office expenses"

But he should; either by negotiating that component, or by negotiating a higher pay package. It seems the Employer is not requiring that rental. You cannot put the employer on the hook for random decisions by the employee.

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