ATO’s working from home shortcut

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has announced special arrangements this year to make it easier for people to claim deductions for working from home.

The new arrangement that has come about due to the COVID-19 crisis, will allow people to claim a rate of 80 cents per hour for all their running expenses, rather than needing to calculate costs for specific running expenses.

Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat said the new shortcut method will make it easier for those who are working from home for the first time.

“If you choose to use this shortcut method, all you need to do is keep a record of the hours you worked from home as evidence of your claim.”

Multiple people living in the same house can claim this new rate. For example, a couple living together could each individually claim the 80 cents per hour rate. The requirement to have a dedicated work from home area has also been removed.

This new shortcut arrangement does not prohibit people from making a working from home claim under existing arrangements, where you calculate all or part of your running expenses.

Claims for working from home expenses prior to 1 March 2020 cannot be calculated using the shortcut method, and must use the pre-existing working from home approach and requirements.

The ATO will review the special arrangement for the next financial year as the COVID-19 situation progresses.

You can find answers to commonly asked questions regarding tax and COVID-19 on the ATO website  for urgent assistance, the Emergency Support Infoline is available on: 1800 806 218.