The ATO has announced a shortcut for claiming tax deductions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and so many Australians now working from home.
If you have worked at home between 1 March 2020 - 30 June 2020, you can use this shortcut to calculate how much to claim on your 2019/2020 tax return.
The shortcut method
Instead of calculating the percentage of electricity, cleaning, internet, stationary, technology depreciation and phone costs, the ATO shortcut allows you to claim 80 cents per hour you have worked from home.
As long as you are fulfilling as much of your normal employment duties as possible - you will generally be able to use this method to claim. For more information, check out the ATO website.
How do I claim work from home deductions?
Make sure you keep a record of the hours you have worked from home. This can be a timesheet, diary or spreadsheet. This is for all hours you have worked between 1 March - 30 June 2020.
When you lodge your 2019-20 tax return, you will need to include the note "COVID-hourly rate" in your tax return. This can be done when you submit your tax return through MyGov or a tax agent.
What about the other months in the year?
As at April 2020, the ATO has said the short cut method will only apply up to 30 June 2020. The ATO may choose to extend this period at a later date - check here
to find out. For the other months in the 2019/20 financial year, if you have worked from home before the 1 March 2020, you will need to keep records and calculate deductions as you normally would have. This would be the fixed rate method or actual cost method. You can find out more from the ATO website.