COVID-19 has seen lots of us working from home for the first time. The good news is that the tax office is making it easier to claim the cost of working from home during the pandemic.

If you’ve been working from home because of the Coronavirus pandemic, instead of sorting through different costs, you can just claim 80 cents per hour for every hour worked from home[1]. This is designed to cover all your costs from internet access through to stationery.

All you need to do is record the hours worked from home. If you worked, say, eight hours a day from home, five days a week, you may be able to claim a tax break of $32 per week. But you can only use the 80 cents per hour rule for the period between 1 March and 30 June.

A second option is available

Alternately, you can claim 52 cents per hour worked from home for costs like heating, lighting, and depreciation of your furniture[2]. On top of this, you can claim a deduction for work-related phone, internet, and stationery plus depreciation in the value of your computer.

This option may give you a bigger deduction if, for example, you’re a big internet user. But you need receipts for the extra costs claimed.

You need to be working to claim the cost

Unfortunately, you can’t claim work from home costs if you were on leave or stood down during the pandemic. If that sounds like you, just checking the occasional email from the boss or staying in touch with your employer over the phone, doesn’t count as working from home.

If you’re not sure if you’re eligible to claim work from home costs, or to decide which method works for you, talk to your tax agent or jump onto the tax office website for more details.

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