What to claim as ‘working from home’ expenses on your tax

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Due to COVID19, many of us have been working at home since March 2020, which means you’re eligible to claim some new expenses on your FY20 tax return.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has even made it easier than usual, by introducing a new method which will allow people to claim 80 cents per hour for all of their running expenses, rather than needing to calculate costs for specific running expenses as per previous years. Furthermore, the requirement to have a dedicated work from home area has also been removed as many people are working from home for the first time and may not have a separate office.

In order to use this method, you will just need a record of the number of hours you’ve worked at home as evidence for your claim.

Multiple people living in the same house will be able to claim the new rate.

The change applies from March 1 – June 30.

If you worked from home from July 1 2019 to February 29, 2020 and you want to claim those expenses, you will need to use the pre-existing working from home approach and requirements.

If doing this, which is often referred to the ’52 cent per work hour’ method, you can claim specific items such as heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning, office furniture, phone, internet expenses, computer consumables, stationary and decline in value of a computer / laptop.

You will need to apportion each of the above’s use to private use v work use and have clear record keeping in the event you are audited.  

The ATO is also reminding people that the three golden rules for deductions still apply including:

  1. Taxpayers must have spent the money themselves and not have been reimbursed
  2. The claim must be directly related to earning income
  3. There must be a record to substantiate the claim

 

They have also announced the three big themes they would be focusing on this year were people overclaiming work-related expenses, people overclaiming rental expenses, and people not declaring all of their income.

 

At a glance: what 'work' expenses can I claim?

If applicable to your circumstance, you can claim a portion of the below 

  • Phone, printer, office furniture, relevant technology (computer / desktop screen / mouse etc), electricity bill, internet bill, gas bill

What the ATO has advised you can't claim is items such as

  • Office consumables such as coffee, tea, milk & toilet paper, rent or your mortgage (unless it is an investment property) 

 

For more information to your specific circumstance, please refer to the ATO website