Home Office Expenses

With the current challenging times, many of us have been forced to work from home. The ATO has introduced a temporary shortcut method to claim home office expenses from 1st March 2020 to 30th June 2020.

Under this method you are able to claim 80 cents for each hour you work from home from 1st March to 30th June 2020 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
  • have incurred additional running expenses as a result of working from home

The shortcut method doesn’t require you to have a dedicated work area, such as a private study.

The shortcut method covers all additional 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 including capital items that cost less than $300
  • cleaning expenses
  • your phone costs, including the decline in value of the handset
  • your internet costs
  • computer consumables, such as printer ink and stationery
  • the decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device.

You don’t have to incur all of these expenses to use the shortcut method, but you must have incurred additional running expenses in some of these categories when working from home.

If you use this method, you can’t claim any other expenses for working from home for that period.

When you are calculating the number of hours you worked from home, you need to exclude any time you took a break from working, for example the time you spent to stop and eat your lunch or to assist your children with home schooling.

Work Related Travel Expenses

Generally, most people cannot claim a deduction for the cost of travelling from home to work.  If you are WFH due to COVID-19 but sometimes need to go to your office, the travel between your home and your workplace still cannot be claimed and is a private expense.