ATO announces short cut method for claiming home office running costs

The Australian Taxation Office ('ATO') has announced a temporary simplified short cut method to make it easier for individual taxpayers to claim deductions for additional running expenses incurred (e.g., additional heating, cooling and lighting costs), as a result of working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Based on the announcement, the ATO will allow individuals to claim a deduction for all running expenses incurred during the period 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, based on a rate of 80 cents for each hour an individual carries out genuine work duties from home. This is an alternative method to claiming home running expenses under existing arrangements, which generally require an analysis of specific running expenses incurred and more onerous record-keeping.

ATO's 80 cents per hour method covers all running costs

The 80 cents per hour method is designed to cover all deductible running expenses associated with working from home and incurred from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, including the following:

  • Electricity expenses associated with heating, cooling and lighting the area at home which is being used for work.
  • Cleaning costs for a dedicated work area. 
  • Phone and internet expenses.
  • Computer consumables (e.g., printer paper and ink) and stationery
  • Depreciation of home office furniture and furnishings (e.g., an office desk and a chair).
  • Depreciation of home office equipment (e.g., a computer and a printer). 

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