Working from home allowance made easier by tax office because of coronavirus

Australians working from home because of the coronavirus outbreak will be able to claim a flat 80c an hour rate on their next tax return.

People living and working in the same household can each claim 80 cents an hour, even if they are sharing the running costs, the tax office said.

Running expenses include phone, internet, heating, cooling and lighting, cleaning costs, stationary, printer paper and ink.

It's in addition to the two standard measures of claiming the deduction, which will still be available as alternative options. The 80c flat rate will also only be applicable for expenses from March 1 until the end of this financial year.

People wanting to use the new flat rate will have to keep a diary recording the hours they work from home, or provide a four-week calendar that shows their usual working hours.

ATO assistant commissioner Karen Foat said these changes "recognises that many taxpayers are working from home for the first time and makes claiming a deduction much easier."

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Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the government would review it later, to see if it needed to be extended into next financial year.

Any working from home claims for before March 1 must be calculated using previous arrangements.

The ATO has also lifted the requirement for taxpayers to have a designated area in their house to work from in order to claim deductions for running expenses.

These new changes do not stop people from lodging work from home claims under the two standard options.

  • Tax papers can claim a fixed rate of 52 cents per hour plus calculate the rate for additional costs such as stationary, printing supplies, phone and internet costs.
  • Tax payers can also make claims by calculating their entire running costs.

Tax payers can only get deductions if they have paid for those services or equipment without being reimbursed by their employer. All claims must be directly related to earning income, and taxpayers must provide a record for anything that they claim.

You can read more about the changes on the tax office website.

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This story The ATO is making it easier to claim for working from home. Here's how first appeared on The Canberra Times.