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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Amey

Work from home deductions

Updated: Jun 19

With more Australians working from home than ever before, understanding how to claim deductions for home office expenses is important for maximizing tax savings. Whether you're self-employed, a sole trader, or an employee required to work remotely, knowing what you can and cannot claim, as well as the differences between the fixed rate method and the actual cost method, can make a significant difference in your tax return.

Let's look at work-from-home expenses, including what's included, what's not, and how to choose the right deduction method.

What's Included in Work-From-Home Expenses:

Work-from-home expenses generally encompass costs associated with maintaining a home office or workspace used for business purposes. This may include:

  • Utilities: A portion of your electricity, gas, and water bills attributable to your home office.

  • Internet and Phone: Expenses related to your internet and phone services used for work purposes.

  • Depreciation of Equipment: Depreciation on assets such as computers, printers, and furniture used in your home office.

  • Cleaning and Repairs: Costs associated with cleaning and maintaining your home office space.

What's Not Included:

While many expenses related to working from home are deductible, there are certain costs that cannot be claimed, including:

  • Non-Work-Related Expenses: Expenses unrelated to your work activities, such as personal phone calls or internet usage.

  • Capital Expenses: Costs associated with the initial setup or renovation of your home office that provide a lasting benefit beyond the current income year.

  • Costs Reimbursed by Your Employer: If your employer reimburses you for any work-from-home expenses, you cannot claim them as a deduction.

Fixed Rate Method vs. Actual Cost Method:

When it comes to claiming home office expenses, taxpayers have the option of using either the fixed rate method or the actual cost method:

  • Fixed Rate Method: Under this method, you can claim a flat rate of 67 cents per hour for each hour you work from home. This rate covers the additional running expenses of your home office, including electricity, gas, cleaning, and the decline in value of furniture and furnishings. You can NO LONGER claim separate deductions for phone and internet expenses, as well as the depreciation of computers and other equipment. From 1/7/2022 these are now included in the fixed rate method. The fixed rate method is simple and requires minimal record-keeping, making it a popular choice for many taxpayers. You do need to keep a diary though and be able to substantiate the time spent working from home. It cannot just be to answer a few calls and open emails.

  • Actual Cost Method: Alternatively, you can choose to claim the actual expenses you incur while working from home. This method requires you to keep detailed records of all home office expenses, including bills, receipts, and depreciation schedules for equipment. While the actual cost method may result in a higher deduction if you have substantial home office expenses, it requires more record-keeping and documentation.

Choosing the Right Method:

When deciding between the fixed rate method and the actual cost method, consider factors such as the level of your home office expenses, the ease of record-keeping, and the potential tax savings. While the fixed rate method offers simplicity and convenience, the actual cost method may provide a more accurate reflection of your expenses if you have significant home office costs. It's essential to choose the method that best suits your individual circumstances and maximizes your tax deductions.

In conclusion, understanding what's included in work-from-home expenses, what's not, and the differences between the fixed rate method and the actual cost method is crucial for maximizing your tax deductions in Australia. By carefully documenting your expenses and choosing the right deduction method, you can ensure compliance with tax regulations and maximize your tax savings come tax time.

For more information please reach out to us, or your local accountant or tax agent.

This articles intention is to inform rather than advise and is based on legislation at the time. Each Taxpayer’s circumstances vary so we strongly recommend that you discuss this information with your Tax Agent, Accountant or Bas Agent before implementation. If you take, or do not take action as a result of reading this article, we accept no responsibility for any financial loss incurred. This is general advice only.


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