If you worked from home, you may be eligible to claim deductions. There are 3 different methods you can use to calculate and claim your work from home deductions. How much you may be able to claim and what records you need to keep depend on which method you choose:
Shortcut method ─ you can claim 80 cents per work hour for all additional running expenses. You can use this method for working at home between 1 March and 30 June 2020.
52 cents per work hour for heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning and the decline in value of office furniture
the work-related portion of your actual costs of phone and internet expenses, computer consumables, stationery
the work-related portion of the decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device.
Actual cost method ─ you can claim the actual work-related portion of all your running expenses, which you need to calculate on a reasonable basis.
What records do I need to keep to prove my claims?
If you use the shortcut method, you need to keep a record of the hours you worked at home, for example, timesheets, Outlook calendar or diary notes.
If you use the other methods, you must also keep a record of the number of hours you worked from home along with records of your expenses. For more information on what those records are see home office expenses.
What running expenses are covered if I use the shortcut method (80 cents per work hour)?
The shortcut method rate covers all deductible running expenses, including:
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
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.
I am going to use the shortcut method to claim my running expenses – can I still claim the full deduction on home office expenses under $300?
No, you can choose to use the method or methods that will give you the best outcome, as long as you meet the criteria and record keeping requirements for each method.
Can I claim tea, coffee and toilet paper under the shortcut method as they used to be supplied at my workplace?
No, the shortcut method only covers additional running expenses.
Can the shortcut method be used by multiple people working in the same house?
Yes, multiple people living in the same house can individually claim the 80 cents per work hour deduction.
As the shortcut method only covers 1 March to 30 June, what do I do for the rest of the year?
If you worked from home before 1 March 2020, you will need to use a different method for that period of time.
After 30 June 2020, we will review the shortcut method.
I am now working from home due to COVID-19. If I have to travel into my workplace to complete some work can I claim travel costs?
Generally, people cannot claim a deduction for the cost of travelling from home to work. Your home does not become your base of employment/operations simply because you are working from home due to COVID-19. If you are working from home due to COVID-19 but sometimes need to go to your office, the travel between your home and your workplace cannot be claimed as it is considered a private expense.
I made changes to my house to create a home office during COVID-19. Are these costs deductible?
No, as an employee, you can’t claim a deduction if you extend your home to build a new home office or you renovate your home to include a home office so that you can work from home.
If I have been directed to temporarily work from home, can I claim occupancy costs like mortgage interest or rent?
No. If you are temporarily working from home due to COVID-19, you won’t be able to claim a deduction for occupancy expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, property insurance and land taxes. The costs incurred in maintaining your home are generally domestic in nature.
It’s important to note that as an employee temporarily working from home during COVID-19 your home does not become your sole base of operations simply because you can’t currently use or access the usual work location that your employer provides.