If you’re an employee and are temporarily working from home due to recent events, such as COVID-19 (coronavirus), bush fire and drought, you may be able to claim a deduction for expenses you incur relating to that work.
You may be able to claim the work-related proportion of your running expenses. These include:
- home office equipment including computers, printers, telephones and furniture and furnishings. You can claim the
- full cost for items up to $300
- decline in value for items over $300
- heating, cooling and lighting
- the costs of repairs to your home office equipment, furniture and furnishings
- cleaning costs
- other running expenses including computer consumables (for example, printer paper and ink) and stationery
Employees working from home temporarily are generally not able to claim occupancy expenses. Occupancy expenses include:
- mortgage interest
- property insurance
- land taxes
You can only claim the work-related proportion of your occupancy expenses in two very limited circumstances where:
- the space in the home is a place of business, and not suitable for domestic use – for example, a doctor or dentist surgery or a hairdresser studio in the home
- no other work location is provided to an employee by an employer and the employee is required to dedicate part of their home to their employer’s business as an office – you can claim the portion of these costs that relate to a clearly identified place of business
Phone and internet expenses
You can claim a deduction for the work-related proportion of your phone and internet expenses. You must have paid for these costs and have records to support your claims.
There are two ways to calculate your phone and internet expenses:
- you can claim up to $50 with limited documents
- you can calculate your actual expenses
You need to keep records for a four-week representative period in each income year to claim a deduction of more than $50. These records include phone and internet bills.
Keeping records of your expenses
Remember to keep records of your time and equipment usage during the period that you are working from home. These can include diary entries that list all your work-related activities, such as how much you used your equipment, home office and phone for work purposes over a representative four-week period. Keep all receipts or other written evidence, including for depreciating assets you have purchased. If you don’t have a receipt for small expenses ($10 or less) keep diary entries for these. Also make sure you have an itemised phone and internet account bill (paper or electronic) from where you can identify work-related calls and internet use.