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What you can claim this tax time if you work from home

If you’re one of the two-thirds of Aussies still working from home (either full-time or occasionally) you’re entitled to make a claim for work-related expenses, you incur. If you opt to do your taxes yourself and not through an accountant, here’s a guide to navigating what you can and can’t claim this tax time. 

The ATO says in order to claim a deduction for a work-related expense, there are 3 golden rules: 

  1. You must have spent the money yourself and weren’t reimbursed 
  2. The expenses must directly relate to earning your income 
  3. You must have a record to prove it (usually a receipt) 

Anything that meets the three golden rules is your ticket to claiming these in your tax return and can be added in at the ‘work-related expense’ of your return. 

However, if you’ve got an expense that was for both work and personal reasons, say the internet for example, you can only claim a deduction for the work-related time you used it. You also can’t double dip, so if your employer pays your bills, or reimburses you for them, you can’t add these into your own return – that would be greedy! 

The ATO also states, in order claim your working from home expenses, you must: 

  • Be working from home to fulfil your employment duties and checking your emails on the couch whilst watching Netflix doesn’t count! 
  • Incur additional expenses as a result of working from home. 

You can claim a deduction for the additional running expenses you incur as a result of working from home. What’s a running expense you ask? 

Well, running expenses are anything which relate to the use of facilities within your home. These look like: 

  • electricity expenses for heating or cooling and lighting
  • the decline in value of office furniture and furnishings as well other items used for work – for example, a laptop 
  • internet expenses 
  • phone expenses. 

To work out how to calculate what you’re owed or for any other advice, check out the ATO website here.

PS. We’re experts in throwing a great event, finding the perfect dinner playlist and making a mean piña colada, but when it comes to tax, we can’t make that claim. This information is general in nature and does not consider your personal financial situation. If you have questions be sure to check in with the ATO or your accountant!

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