Claiming Home Office Expenses

by Dr Theresa Teo, Principal, AlphaIMM Agency

Good News: Tax deductions are available to a range of working from home costs

With the rising COVID-19 cases, many businesses have advised their staff to work from home. Forther individual working from home, this can mean increases in utility bills, personal mobile phone and internet use, and even house cleaning bills to keep the house tidy. There is some relief available with the ATO providing clarity in these unprecedented times, on what costs are are tax deductible!

The work-related proportion of the below household cost may be claimable such as

  • Heating, cooling and lighting bills;
  • Costs of cleaning your home working area;
  • Depreciation of home office furniture and fittings;
  • Depreciation of office equipment and computers;
  • Costs of repairing home office equipment, furniture and furnishings;
  • Small capital items such as furniture and computer equipment costing less than $300 can be written off in full immediately (they don’t need to be depreciated); 
  • Computer consumables (like printer ink) and stationery; and
  • Phone (mobile and/or landline) and internet expenses. 

One thing to note that you cannot claim a portion of your mortgage or rent. Ideally, you should have a specific room set aside as home office. If it is a shared room, you can claim the expenses for the hours you had exclusive use of the area.

Have a look at the “Employees working from home – The other kind of housework” brochure from the ATO:

For further details on how to claim home office expenses, click on the ATO logo to go the the ATO website:

Important Note:

A lack of documentation to support home office claims has been problematic in the past, particularly around the proportionate split between business use and personal use. When it comes to your tax affairs, it should go without saying that record keeping is important.