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 to 30 June 2020 in your FY 2019/20 tax return
- 1 July to 30 June 2021 in your FY 2020/21 tax return
you can use this shortcut to calculate how much to claim on your 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 2020 - 30 June 2021.
When you lodge your tax return, you will need to include the note "COVID-hourly rate" in your tax return. This can be done when you lodge your tax return through MyGov or a tax agent.
What about the other months in the year?
As at June 2021, the ATO has said the short cut method can apply for 1 March – 30 June 2020 and 1 July – 30 June 2021. The ATO may choose to extend this period depending on when work patterns will return to normal.