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  • Working from home expenses

    You may be able to claim a deduction for working from home expenses you incur as an employee. These can be additional running expenses such as electricity, the decline in value of equipment or furniture, phone and internet expenses. You must:

    • use one of the methods set out by us to calculate your deduction
    • keep the records required for the method you choose.

    There are some expenses you can't claim a deduction for as an employee. Employees who work at home can't claim costs:

    • for coffee, tea, milk and other general household items your employer may provide you at work
    • for your children and their education including  
      • setting them up for online learning
      • teaching them at home
      • buying equipment such as iPads and desks
    • your employer pays for or reimburses you for the expense
    • for the decline in value of items provided by your employer – for example, a laptop or a phone.

    Generally as an employee, you can’t claim occupancy expenses (rent, rates, mortgage interest and house insurance premiums), unless your home is your 'place of business'.

    You can’t claim a deduction if your employer paid for your home office to be set up or they reimbursed you for the expense.

    You also can't claim a deduction for your working from home expenses if you are only carrying out minimal tasks, such as checking your shift times.

    The Home office expenses calculator helps you work out the amount you can claim as a deduction for home office expenses.

    Example: claiming home office expenses with a fixed rate

    Rosemary works as a police prosecutor. When she is preparing for a case, she works extra hours at home in the evening and on weekends.

    Rosemary's employer doesn't reimburse her for the expenses she incurs while working from home, expenses which include reams of paper, printer ink and stationery. Rosemary uses these items solely for work purposes and they cost her $250. The computer Rosemary uses at home her employer supplies and her printer has been fully depreciated.

    Rosemary keeps a diary over a 4 week representative period and works out that she has:

    • worked at home for 20 hours (an average of 5 hours per week)
    • worked for 48 weeks in the income year.

    She calculates that she spent a total of 240 hours working from home (5 hours per week × 48 weeks = 240 hours).

    Rosemary can claim a deduction for the reams of paper, printer ink and stationery that has been used for work purposes costing $250.

    Rosemary has chosen to use the fixed rate (52c) method to work out her claim.

    She calculates her home office expenses as follows:

    240 hours × 52 cents per hour + $250 = $375

    End of example

    For more information, see:

    • PS LA 2001/6 Verification approaches for home office and electronic device expenses
    • TR 93/30 Income tax: deductions for home office expenses
    • PCG 2020/3 Claiming deductions for additional running expenses incurred whilst working from home due to COVID-19
      Last modified: 26 Apr 2022QC 20810