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Working from home due to COVID-19 health restrictions means you may be able to simplify home office expense claims this tax time.
If you’ve been working from home during the coronavirus health emergency, you may have noticed extra expenses you’ve had to pay.
Perhaps you've rushed out to buy a new desk, stationery or even a new computer. Then you may have had expenses to operate your home office with bills like power, phone and internet costs.
The Australian Tax Office has made special arrangements to make it easier to claim deductions this tax time for those extra costs you may have incurred by working from home.¹
If you have spent the money, if the expense is directly related to earning your income, and if you’ve got a record, such as a diary note or timesheet, to prove it, then you may be able to use the ATO’s new simplified method to claim a rate of 80 cents per hour for your work-from-home expenses.
If you have been working from home, your claim may mean a deduction for the additional running expenses you incur.
These may include:
If you have been working from home only due to COVID-19, you can't claim:
If you use the shortcut method to claim a deduction, you cannot claim a further deduction for any of the individual expenses covered by the claim.
The short-cut method will be available to use from 1 March 2020 until 30 June 2020 after which it will be reassessed by the ATO.
The ATO says you do not have to incur all of the expenses listed below, but you must have incurred additional expenses in some of those categories as a result of working from home due to COVID-19.
The shortcut method rate covers all deductible running expenses, including:
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1. Australian Taxation Office, Working from home during COVID-19, accessed 23 April 2020 at https://www.ato.gov.au/General/COVID-19/Support-for-individuals-and-employees/Employees-working-from-home/
June 30 is approaching quickly, which means tax time – and a likely refund – is just around the corner for a majority of taxpayers.
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You may be eligible for as much as $540 as an Australian Government tax offset for spouse contributions.