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  • Writer's pictureEleanor Shakeshaft

Make sure you claim the cost of working from home due to COVID-19?

A temporary simplified method to claim expenses related to working from home has been introduced

The ATO have introduced a new method to enable you to claim an expense for working from home. They have simplified the current methods of calculating additional running expenses for the period 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. Watch this space, it may be extended depending on when work patterns start to return to normal.

It is called the Shortcut method and allows you to claim a deduction of 80 cents for each hour worked from home due to COVID-19.

The attraction of this method is that all you have to do is keep a record of the number of hours you have worked from home as a result of COVID19. You can use timesheets, diary notes or rosters.

Just from my experience I would suggest you keep some evidence from the employer that you have been required to work from home, perhaps a letter or email confirming this. The ATO do not allude to this in their information but it is a precaution just in case you are asked.

This method takes into account all the deductible running expenses which can usually be claimed seperately and instead of keeping diaries and splitting personal and business proportions, it is just a one off basic calculation.

Furthermore, you do not have to have a separate or dedicated area of your home set aside for working, such as a private study.

Watch though, you cannot claim:-

  • occupancy expenses such as mortgage interest, rent and rates, nor

  • claim for the cost of coffee, tea, milk and other general household items your employer may otherwise have provided you with at work.

This is a new temporary claim, there are still the original methods available to you - please get in touch if you need information on these.

NB if you do receive an allowance for working from home, this is included in your tax return as income.

As always, let me know if you need further assistance or clarification.

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