Wagga tax expert Simon Rosengren on what home-workers can claim from tax

TIS THE SEASON: Tax expert Simon Rosengren breaks down what you can and can't claim on tax while working from home. Picture: Les Smith
TIS THE SEASON: Tax expert Simon Rosengren breaks down what you can and can't claim on tax while working from home. Picture: Les Smith

Tax season will be looking very different this time around, as more taxpayers adjust to working from home amid the coronavirus lockdown.

ITP tax expert Simon Rosengren said his phone lines have been running hot with enquiries from taxpayers wanting to know what they can claim as work expenses while working from a home office.

Heating bills count as a major work expense, Mr Rosengren says, as well as internet, phone, and printing costs.

Even toilet paper and instant coffee count as work expenses, however Mr Rosengren says these tend to be too minor for it to be worth noting down.

"They're the major headline grabbers, but in reality it's such a minor cost," Mr Rosengren said.

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This year people who find themselves working from home are given two choices: they can either go with the traditional tax return or they can opt for an 80 cents per hour deal.

Mr Rosengren said the new deal tended to be better for those who had never worked from home before, but that long-time home office workers would actually be worse off.

The new deal does not include expenses such as depreciation, and so Mr Rosengren recommends going with the old tax return for veteran home office workers.

"I'm perceiving that most of our taxpayers will stick with their old methods, because they will be better off," Mr Rosengren said.

"If you have always been in the office and then all of a sudden you're working from home, then the 80 cents will usually work out better - it's also simpler to keep and not compliance heavy."

Australian Taxation Office assistant commissioner Karen Float said this tax season was going to look a lot different this time around.

"This tax time the ATO expects to see a substantial increase in people claiming deductions for working from home or for protective items required for work," Ms Foat said.

"What you can claim really depends on your circumstances. Whilst we are trying to make it easier for people to claim what they are entitled to; we are also asking people to take a bit of extra care if their circumstances have changed this year."

Taxpayers who work in close proximity with customers or clients can claim sanitiser, face masks, and gloves as part of their work expense.

You can claim laundry expenses, but only if it is for a work uniform and directly related to your work activity.

Payments such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker are automatically included in the tax return and do not need to be listed.

TIS THE SEASON: Tax expert Simon Rosengren breaks down what you can and can't claim on tax while working from home. Picture: Les Smith

TIS THE SEASON: Tax expert Simon Rosengren breaks down what you can and can't claim on tax while working from home. Picture: Les Smith

This story What you can claim on tax when working from home first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.