Thousands of Australians finding themselves working from home will get a shortcut to claiming expenses when it comes to tax time.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has created special rules for anyone who has been working at home since March 1 because of measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Instead of having to calculate costs for specific running expenses, such as the proportion of internet time used for work or entertainment, they can claim a flat rate of 80 cents per hour.
ATO assistant commissioner Karen Foat says people are required only to keep a record of how many hours they work from home to use this new tax deduction.
“This recognises that many taxpayers are working from home for the first time and makes claiming a deduction much easier,” she says.
Recent polling from Essential Research shows nearly half of working-age Australians have either changed their hours or shifted their work to home in response to the virus. If there are multiple people working from the same home, they can all claim the new rate.
The ATO has also dropped the requirement to have a dedicated office area, with many people setting up ad-hoc work spaces, especially if everyone in their household is at home.
People can still use the old method of calculating proportion of use and depreciation if they prefer.
The new arrangement is in place only between March 1 and June 30, but the ATO will keep an eye on the coronavirus situation and decide if it should continue into the next financial year.
– By Katina Curtis, AAP