The ATO has announced a new shortcut method which will allow taxpayers to claim a rate of 80 cents per hour for all their running expenses.
A deduction of 80 cents per hour for each hour worked can be claimed if the taxpayer is working from home due to COVID-19. The claim can only be made if the taxpayer is:
working from home to fulfill employment duties and not carrying out minimal tasks such as checking emails and/or taking calls
incurring additional deductible running expenses as a result of working from home.
The shortcut method rate covers all deductible running expenses, including:
Electricity for lighting, cooling or heating and running electronic items used for work (for example your computer), and gas heating expenses
The decline in value and repair of capital items, such as home office furniture and furnishings
Phone costs, including the decline in value of the handset
Computer consumables, such as printer ink
The decline in value of a computer, laptop or similar device.
All these expenses do not have to be incurred to meet the requirements, however there must have been an additional expense incurred in some of the above categories as a result of working from home due to COVID-19.
Claims for working from home expenses prior to 1 March 2020 cannot be calculated using the shortcut method and must use the pre-existing working from home approach and requirements. The ATO will review the special arrangement for the next financial year as the COVID-19 situation progresses.