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The shortcut to claiming COVID-19 home office deductions

If you were unable to work from your usual (principal) place of business and had to work from home during COVID-19 restrictions, the ATO has introduced a simplified method to help you claim a deduction on your 2019-20 tax.

The shortcut method for home office expenses

The shortcut method is temporary and only claimable for the period 1 March to 30 September 2020. It is a single claim that covers all working from home expenses including internet, phone, depreciation of equipment, and gas and electricity for office heating, cooling and lighting. All employees working from home in this period, including self-employed people, can use this method.

Using the shortcut method, you can claim 80 cents per hour for every hour you worked from home between 1 March and 30 September 2020. You can only use this rate if:

  • you were working from home to fulfil the duties of your work (not just carrying out minimal tasks such as checking email or taking calls)
  • you have incurred additional running expenses as a result of working from home
  • you have kept a record of the hours worked from home — this can be a timesheet, roster, diary or other documents that state the hours your worked.

To use the shortcut method, you don’t need to have worked from a dedicated area, such as an office or study.

Alternative home office deduction methods

If the shortcut method does not give you the best tax outcome, or you were already working from home before 1 March, or if you don’t meet other criteria, you can use one of the existing methods to work out your deductions:

Learn more about tracking and claiming work from home expenses from the ATO.

More information

Stay on top of your financial obligations at the end of financial year with these resources:

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