ATO Announces New COVID-19 Working from Home Deduction Arrangements

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has announced special arrangements this year due to COVID-19 to make it easier for people to claim deductions for working from home.

The new arrangement will allow people to claim a rate of 80 cents per hour for all their running expenses, rather than needing to calculate costs for specific running expenses.

Multiple people living in the same house can claim this new rate. For example, a couple living together could each individually claim the 80 cents per hour rate. The requirement to have a dedicated work from home area has also been removed.

According to the ATO this shortcut method will only require employees to keep a record of the number of hours worked from home.

This new shortcut arrangement does not prohibit people from making a working from home claim under existing arrangements, where you calculate all or part of your running expenses.

Claims for working from home expenses prior to 1 March 2020 cannot be calculated using the shortcut method, and must use the pre-existing working from home approach and requirements.

The ATO will review the special arrangement for the next financial year as the COVID-19 situation progresses.

As a result of this announcement there are three ways that you can choose to calculate your additional running expenses for the 1 March – 30 June period:

  • claim a rate of 80 cents per work hour for all additional running expenses.
  • claim a rate of 52 cents per work hour for heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning and the decline in value of office furniture, plus calculate the work-related portion of your phone and internet expenses, computer consumables, stationery and the decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device
  • claim the actual work-related portion of all your running expenses, which you need to calculate on a reasonable basis.
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