Tax deduction for working from home expenses

In recent years, the concept of working from home has gained significant popularity. With advancements in technology and changing work cultures, more Australians are opting for remote work arrangements. However, what many may not realize is that working from home can bring potential tax benefits. This blog aims to guide you through the various tax deductions available to individuals in Australia who work from home, helping you optimize your tax returns and minimize your tax liabilities.

  1. Home Office Expenses: One of the primary tax deductions for remote workers is home office expenses. If you have a designated area in your home that is used exclusively for work purposes, you can claim a portion of your rent or mortgage interest, council rates, home insurance, and utilities (such as electricity and internet) as deductions. Keep accurate records of your expenses and calculate the proportion of your home used for work to claim the appropriate deductions.

  2. Depreciation of Equipment: As a remote worker, you likely rely on various equipment and assets to perform your job effectively. Computers, laptops, printers, office furniture, and other work-related items can be eligible for tax deductions through depreciation. The cost of these items can be claimed over their useful life, allowing you to offset their diminishing value against your taxable income.

  3. Telephone and Internet Expenses: If you use your personal telephone or internet for work-related activities, you can claim a portion of these expenses as deductions. To accurately calculate your deductible amount, keep records of the time spent on work-related calls and the proportion of your internet usage dedicated to work-related tasks.

4. Work-Related Travel Expenses: While working from home may reduce your commute time, you may still incur work-related travel expenses. If you need to travel to meet clients, attend conferences, or visit your employer’s office, you can claim deductions for expenses such as fuel, public transport fares, and parking fees. Ensure you keep detailed records, including receipts and logs of your business-related travel.

5. Professional Development and Subscriptions: Investing in your professional growth is crucial for remote workers. The expenses associated with attending conferences, workshops, training courses, and professional subscriptions can be claimed as tax deductions. These deductions apply when the education or subscriptions are directly related to your current occupation or contribute to maintaining or improving your skills in your profession.

6. Other Deductible Expenses: There are additional expenses that remote workers may be eligible to claim as deductions. These can include stationery, work-related software and apps, professional memberships, and relevant work-specific insurances. Keep track of these expenses and consult with a tax professional to determine their deductibility.

How can you claim?

  1. Eligibility: Ensure that you meet the ATO’s criteria for claiming work-from-home deductions. You must have incurred additional expenses as a result of working from home, and your home office must be used exclusively or primarily for work purposes.

  2. Method of Calculation: The ATO provides two methods for calculating work-from-home deductions:

    a. Fixed Rate Method: The revised Fixed rate method allows to claim 67 cents per hour worked from home. The expenses included in this fixed rate are data and internet, telephone and mobile, electricity and gas, stationery and computer consumables. You can’t claim a separate deduction for any of the above expenses. However, separate deductions can be claimed for decline in the value of assets used while working from home such as office computers, laptops, printers, furniture etc and maintenance of these assets and the cost associated with cleaning of a dedicated office.

     b. Actual Cost Method: The actual cost method allows to claim deduction for the actual cost incurred for working from home such as data and internet, telephone and mobile, electricity and gas, stationery and computer consumables, decline in the value of assets used while working from home such as office computers, laptops, printers, furniture etc and maintenance of these assets.


  3. Record Keeping:

    a.       For fixed cost method: A record of hours worked from home is required. From 1 March 2023, a record of all the hours worked from home is required. ATO will not accept estimates or 4 weeks representative diary records. Timesheets, roasters, and diaries for the full year are required.

    b.       For actual cost method: A record of every expense claim is required. Evidence of personal and work-related use of items or services is also required, in addition to receipts, bills, or invoices for the running expenses, Under actual cost method, record can be maintained for the entire year or over a 4 week period that represents work use.

  4. Completing Your Tax Return: When completing your tax return, use the relevant sections to claim work-from-home deductions. If you use the shortcut method, include the total number of hours worked from home. If you use the fixed rate method, include the number of hours worked from home, along with additional expenses claimed separately.

  5. Other Deductions: In addition to the simplified methods, you can still choose to calculate deductions using the actual expenses incurred. This requires more detailed record-keeping and supporting documentation for each expense claimed.

  6. Seek Professional Advice: If you have complex work-from-home arrangements or need guidance on claiming deductions, consult  tax professional . They can provide tailored advice based on your specific circumstances and ensure compliance with ATO regulations.

In conclusion, working from home in Australia presents an opportunity to take advantage of various tax deductions that can significantly benefit remote workers. By understanding and utilizing these deductions, you can optimize your tax returns and reduce your overall tax liabilities. Remember to keep accurate records of your expenses, maintain a dedicated workspace, and consult with a tax professional to ensure you are maximizing your eligible deductions within the boundaries of the Australian tax laws. Working from home offers flexibility and convenience, and with proper tax planning, you can also reap the financial rewards it brings. Contact us today to make the most of your remote work journey.

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