19 Dec Proposed new method for calculating work from home expenses
Taxpayers could soon be dealing with more paperwork at tax time, or facing the prospect of a lower tax deduction for work from home (WFH) expenses. The ATO has recently proposed a new revised fixed rate method of calculating WFH expenses for the purposes of claiming a tax deduction from 1 July 2022.
The proposed new rate of 67c per hour would replace the previous shortcut method of 80c per hour (which many people have been using during the COVID-19 pandemic) as well as the previous fixed rate method.
Tip: It’s important to note that this proposal comes from the ATO (which does not itself create the tax law) and is still at the draft stage. The ATO is asking for submissions from interested parties.
Before 1 July 2022, people working from home could use one of three methods for calculating a tax deduction for the expenses incurred:
- the actual costs method, which involved calculating the actual expenses incurred as a result of working from home;
- the fixed rate method, which allowed 52c per hour to cover their electricity and gas expenses, home office cleaning expenses, and the decline in value of furniture and furnishings, with a separate deduction claimable for work-related internet expenses, telephone expenses, stationery and computer consumables and the decline in value of a computer/laptop; and
- the shortcut method, which was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic to make it easier for the large proportion of employees suddenly working from home. This method allowed claiming 80c per hour to cover all WFH expenses, with no separation of deductions.
Given the continual increase in energy bills and other inflationary pressures, this new proposed fixed rate method is likely to yield consistently lower deductions than if the actual cost method was used. Coupled with the abolition of the shortcut method, this seems to mean that taxpayers would either have to accept a lower WFH deduction in the coming years or deal with increased paperwork to be able to claim WFH deductions under the actual costs method.