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Working from home during COVID -19

This support note applies to:

  • AE Tax Series 6 & 8 (AU)
  • AE Tax (AU)
  • AO Tax (AU)
Article ID: 37406813

If your working arrangements have changed during COVID-19 and you're working from home, you can claim your expenses as a deduction in your tax return. For more information, see the ATO website.

You'll be able to claim the deduction for the period March 1 2020 to June 30, 2020. At these uncertain times, it may not be possible to keep track of the expenses. So the ATO has introduced a shortcut method to calculate this deduction.

Shortcut method

The shortcut method is to simplify the deduction calculation for working from home. This is a temporary method and is available only from March 1 to June 30, 2020.

Using this method, you can claim 80 cents per hour of your working from home hours. All employees working from home during this period (March 1 to June 30, 2020) can use this method.

The shortcut method covers all of your work from home expenses, such as:

  • phone expenses
  • internet expenses
  • the decline in value of equipment and furniture
  • electricity and gas for heating, cooling, and lighting.

You can choose to use this rate if you:

  • are working from home to fulfill your employment duties, not just carrying out minimal tasks such as occasionally checking emails or taking calls

  • have incurred additional running expenses as a result of working from home.

You don't need to use the shortcut method to claim your deductions. You can choose one of the existing methods such as the fixed rate or actual cost method. The shortcut method can only be used for the period between March 1 to June 30, 2020. See the ATO website.

Claiming the deduction in the tax return

There are no changes in the MYOB tax to claim using the shortcut method. Simply, enter the deduction amount at the Other work-related expenses label and ‘COVID-hourly rate’ as the description.

If you've used any other method to claim your deductions, enter the amounts at the relevant label as you would do in any other years.

If you need to calculate the deduction prior to March 1, see Home office expenses.

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