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Home Office Running Expense

Often I am asked "Can I claim my home office expenses?" As we are dealing with "The Rona" the ATO has put special rules in place until at least 30 June and til may be extended.

These claims can be included in your personal tax. You must keep records for all home office expenses, along with the hours worked each day.

There is a special rate of 80 cents per hour from 01 March to 30 June 2020 to make it easier.

You must have proof you actually incurred the expense and it has not been reimbursed.

You must be able to prove you were required to work at home and not in the office.

Heating, cooling and lighting expenses are only available where the taxpayer exclusively uses these services while they work from home. This means, for example, that a taxpayer working on their laptop whilst sitting on their couch next to their partner who is watching TV will have no additional expenditure on heating, cooling or lighting, but they may have some computer, phone or internet expenses which are work-related.

Special Rules for Home Office Running Expenses

Taxpayers can calculate their home office running expenses by:

  • keeping records and written evidence to determine their work-related proportion of actual expenses incurred or

  • use a rate of 52 cents per hour effective from 1 July 2018.

Note: You can claim a deduction of 80 cents for each hour you work from home due to COVID-19. The ATO understands that tracking these expenses can be challenging at this time. They will accept a temporary simplified method (or shortcut method) of calculating additional running expenses for the period starting 1 March 2020 until at least 30 June 2020. This method may be extended by the ATO, depending on when work patterns start to return to normal.

Taxpayers who use the rate per hour method to claim a deduction for home office running expenses only need to keep a record to show how many hours they work from home. They can do this over the course of the year, or if their work from home hours are regular and constant, by keeping a record for a representative four-week period. This method incorporates all of the items that a taxpayer can claim as a home office running expense including lighting, heating, cooling, cleaning costs, and decline in value of home office items such as furniture and furnishings in the area used for work.

Be sure to keep your records and speak to your Accountant if you are wanting to claim with either of these methods.

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