Skip to Content

Categories

Tax time tips: The working from home edition

Spending more time at home likely means higher power, phone and internet bills… eek! Here, we talk about the expenses you may (and may not) be able to claim back.

What can I actually claim?

If working from home is your new normal, you probably want to start thinking about what you can claim back once EOFY rolls around. It all depends on your job, but things like electricity, internet and phone bills will be at the top of your list. Then there's things like office furniture, cleaning costs, stationary and printer ink! For more info on what you could claim, click here.

What I probably can’t claim

Unless you have a specific work area you use to run your business all year round, you can’t claim mortgage repayments, rent, council rates, land taxes or home and contents insurance. And just because you’re now supplying your own milk, tea and coffee, doesn’t mean you can claim those as well. If you’ve been given a work laptop, phone, desk or anything else, that’s also off the list. For the most up-to-date info, click here.

How do I calculate my expenses?

Strap yourself in, it could take a bit of time. But here’s the three main ways you might calculate your working from home costs.

  1. The shortcut method is a new and pretty straightforward approach. For every work hour spent at home, you can claim 80 cents of your additional running expenses. Simple, right?

  2. The fixed rate method lets you claim 52 cents per work hour for your running costs, which includes heating, cooling and lighting. Separately, actual costs like your phone, internet and stationery are calculated based on the time they’re used for work purposes. For example, if you use your phone 70% of the time for work, you might be able to claim 70% of the cost.

  3. Then there’s the actual cost method which lets you calculate the work-related portion of all running expenses. With this approach, you’ll need to consider how your costs are impacted by the people you live with.

How do I keep track of the details?

It’s super important to keep track of everything you’re wanting to claim and the hours you work (if you decide to use the shortcut or fixed rate method, that is!) This makes it easier when lodging your tax return and could protect you legally. Using an app or tracking your spending in an Excel spreadsheet could help. 

Making the most of my tax return

If you end up getting some cash back, woohoo! Putting your tax return into a high-interest savings account, like our USave* could help supercharge your savings and get you one step closer to your goals… did someone say new car? Other ideas could be to top up your super, boost your emergency fund or pay off any debts.

Filling out your tax return will hopefully be a bit easier now you know what expenses you might be able to claim. Now you can head back to the couch, knowing you’re one-step ahead this EOFY.

 

*Consider if this product is right for you by reading the product terms and conditions here before deciding. Product issuer is National Australia Bank Limited.


The information contained in this article is of a general nature only. It doesn’t take account of any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, you should consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances and seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice.