It is that time of year again and there is excitement in the air as the possibility of a tax refund dangles before us. There is an added air of expectancy this year because many of us have been working from home and surely the last 3-4 months will bring with it the ability to claim some costs imposed on our household budget?
You are right of course and so I thought it would be a good idea to outline what it is you can expect to be able to claim for:
- Utilities such as heating, cooling & lighting
- Cleaning costs for your work area
- Mobile or landline use for your work calls
- Internet connection
- Computer consumables and stationery
- Repair costs for the home office e.g. equipment and furniture
- Depreciation on home office equipment, computer furniture, fittings
- Small capital expenses such as a computer purchased specifically for working from home –if the cost is under $300. If it is over $300 then there is a possibility of a claim for the decline in value of that capital purchase.
Of course you will have to be able to substantiate your claim by being able to show timesheets or rosters that prove you have been working from home. And of course if your boss picked up the tab for setting up your office, you will not be able to make a claim in that regard.
If you are looking at completing your tax return yourself you can follow a “shortcut” available and simply claim 80 cents per hour for your “working from home” costs. This will be labelled as the “Covid Hourly Rate” The usual date allowance would be between the dates of 01/03/2020 to 30/06/2020 so if you were working from home prior to that- make sure you state that and can provide evidence.
A word of caution, if you have just been checking your emails at home or taking calls those are not counted as something that is claimable, you were probably doing that anyway – even when you were not working from home.
If in doubt follow this link to the ATO and you will have access to a more detailed run down of what is claimable https://www.ato.gov.au/uploadedFiles/Content/IND/Downloads/Working-from-home.pdf
So let’s talk about your tax return for a moment because I see so many people getting into danger whilst waiting for a possible refund. I call it “Rubber Spending” because in many cases we spend as if we keep getting the money back and then spend it again – usually 3 times in all:
- When we know its tax refund time
- When we complete our tax return
- When the money actually lands in our bank
So be warned and don’t be one of those people who end up committing to more than they are receiving – dream all you want but wait for the money to actually land in your account before you decide to spend it!
As usual I would love to hear your comments so please feel free to fill in the comment section below and watch this space because next time we will discuss what to do with your tax return to get the maximum benefit.
Until next time, happy budgeting:)