The ATO are allowing a temporary simplified method of calculating home office expenses for those who are required to work from home due to the COVID-19 situation for the period 1 March 2020 until at least 30 June 2020 (may be extended).
You can claim a deduction of 80 cents for each hour (as opposed to the current rate of 52 cents per hr) if you work from home due to COVID-19 as long as you are:
- working from home to fulfil your employment duties and not just carrying out minimal tasks such as occasionally checking emails or taking calls
- incurring additional deductible running expenses as a result of working from home.
This shortcut method covers the following expenses:
- electricity for lighting, cooling or heating and running electronic items used for work (for example your computer), and gas heating expenses
- the decline in value and repair of capital items, such as home office furniture and furnishings
- cleaning expenses
- your phone costs, including the decline in value of the handset
- your internet costs
- computer consumables, such as printer ink
- the decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device.
You do not have had to incur all these expenses, but must have incurred additional expenses in some of these categories as a result of working from home due to COVID-19.
To claim this shortcut method you must keep a record of the number of hours you have worked from home as a result of COVID-19. Records may consist of timesheets, diaries or rosters.
There are other methods of claiming home office expenses, which depending on your particular circumstances, may or may not give you a better deduction, however they do require you to keep more detailed records they are:
We would recommend that you keep detailed records in order to claim the most beneficial method come tax time.