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ATO announces new working from home shortcut

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has announced special arrangements this year due to COVID-19 to make it easier for people to claim deductions for working from home. 

ATO announces new working from home shortcut
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • April 08, 2020
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According to the ATO, the new arrangement 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.

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

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

“The shortcut method provides a rate of 80 cents per hour and will only require you to keep a record of the number of hours worked from home,” Ms Foat said.

“This recognises that many taxpayers are working from home for the first time and makes claiming a deduction much easier.

“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.”

The Tax Office noted that this new shortcut arrangement does not prohibit people from making a working from home claim under existing arrangements, where they calculate all or part of their running expenses. 

However, it warned that 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.

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