How working from home will impact you at tax time

How working from home will impact you at tax time

Like many Australians, you probably find yourself working from home today.

Thousands of businesses across the country have been forced to adapt their practices due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and one of the biggest changes is the loss of the office dynamic. 

No more daily commute, no bouncing off colleagues – simply working from the comfort of your own home.

This certainly comes with its advantages. You can set your alarm far later than usual, and if it pleases you, you can work from your bed in your pajamas.

But, it can also hurt your bottom line covering expenses that are usually attributed to your office such as a burgeoning use of your home internet and mobile phone, increased utility bills and, potentially, the outlay of funds for office furniture or basic products.

The good news however is that, according to the Australian Taxation Office, you can claim most of that back at tax time.

If you are working from home, the ATO will allow you to claim the following work-related portionof these expenses backdated to when they begun: 

    •       Heating, cooling and lighting bills

    •       Costs of cleaning your home working area

    •       Depreciation of home office furniture and fittings

    •       Depreciation of office equipment and computers

    •       Costs of repairing home office equipment, furniture and furnishings

    •       Small capital items such as furniture and computer equipment costing less than $300 can be written off in full immediately, meaning you won’t need to use the ATO’s depreciation calculator

    •       Computer consumables, such as printer ink, and stationery

    •       Phone, including mobile and/or landline, and internet expenses

It is important when making a claim of this nature to have supporting documentation detailing how and when the expenses you are claiming were accrued.

This can be done in one of two ways – keeping your own records, known as the ‘diary method’, over a four-week period of your work-related expenses in the household, or applying the ATO’s blanket rate of 52 cents per hour for home office expenses.

The latter method applies only to heating, cooling, lighting and the declining value of furniture, so you can make external claims for phone and internet expenses, computer consumables and stationery, and the depreciation of computers or other equipment.