The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people work, with more and more people choosing to work from home where allowances are made. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has recognised this change with the announcement of changes to home office claims for the 2022-2023 financial year. The aim of these changes is to reflect the increased costs associated with working from home and to make it more straightforward for taxpayers to claim their home office expenses.
Here’s what you need to know about the changes and how they could affect you.
When claiming deductions for costs incurred when working from home, taxpayers can choose one of two methods to claim working from home deductions: either the “actual cost” or “fixed rate” method. Only the fixed rate method is changing. The revised fixed rate method applies from 1 July 2022 and can be used when taxpayers are working out deductions for their 2022–23 income tax returns.
The fixed rate for home office expenses has been increased from $0.52 per hour worked to $0.67 per hour worked. This increase reflects the higher costs associated with working from home, such as electricity, heating, and cooling. This increase in the claim rate will help to offset some of these expenses and make it easier for taxpayers who have worked from home over the past year to claim what they are entitled to.
To accompany the changes to the fixed rate, the ATO announced that phone and internet costs can no longer be claimed on top of the claim rate. These costs are now included in the claim rate, which means that they cannot be claimed separately. This change reflects the fact that phone and internet expenses are now considered to be part of the basic running costs of a home office.
There are no changes to the actual cost method, and taxpayers can still claim the actual work-related portion of all running expenses. But you must continue keeping detailed records for all of the working from home expenses you are claiming, including:
The ATO is reminding taxpayers that if you are claiming via the ‘actual cost’ method, you’re not able to claim a deduction for expenses which have already been reimbursed by your employer.
Whichever method of claiming is used, if you purchase assets and equipment for work that cost more than $300, you cannot immediately claim the full amount. For each of these items, the deduction must be claimed over a number of years and the work portion claimed (known as decline in value or depreciation). The ATO has online calculators to help taxpayers work out the decline in value of assets and equipment purchased.
The changes to home office claims for the 2022-2023 financial year reflect the new reality of working from home. The increase in the claim rate and the inclusion of phone and internet costs in the rate are designed to make it easier for taxpayers to claim their home office expenses. The changes to the calculation methods make things more simplified, and are aimed at ensuring that taxpayers can claim their expenses in a fair and consistent way. As always, it is important to keep accurate records of your home office expenses and seek the advice of a tax professional if you are unsure about any aspect of your claim.
The expertise and experience of our Geelong Accountants at The Hrkac Group can help you with your tax return. If you need assistance or advice about claiming working from home expenses, get in touch. To make an appointment to meet with one of our friendly Geelong Accoutants, contact us via email or phone (03) 5224 2366.