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  • Work-related expenses

    In these extraordinary times, the Australian community has been significantly impacted by natural disasters and COVID-19. We are focused on supporting taxpayers to get their claims right and ease the burden at tax time.

    This year, you'll find 10 new occupation posters for paramedics, fire fighters, pilots, bus drivers, agriculture workers, call centre operators, lawyers, engineers, performing artists and factory workers, increasing our suite of occupation posters.

    See our suite of occupation and label posters, guides and toolkits at our Tax Time toolkit.

    On this page:

    Working from home

    We have temporarily altered the method for claiming home office expenses for people who worked from home from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2021.

    This easy way to claim a deduction for additional home office running expenses means people can claim a flat rate of 80 cents per hour worked at home.

    This flat rate is a cover-all approach that includes both:

    • the additional running expenses incorporated under the 52 cents fixed rate per hour
    • computer consumables, stationery, phone and internet expenses and the decline in value of a computer, laptop, phone or similar device.

    We previously required people to have a dedicated 'work from home' area, which is not required to claim the shortcut method. We have also allowed multiple people living in the same house and working from home to each claim the 80 cents per work hour flat rate.

    Your clients must keep a record of the number of hours worked from home. This could be in the form of timesheets, rosters, a diary or similar document that sets out the hours worked.

    You still have the option to use one of the existing methods to calculate home office expenses

    Remind your clients they can't claim:

    • any deductions for home schooling their children – this includes personal expenses like children's technology for online learning or purchasing things like sporting equipment
    • minimal tasks, such as occasionally checking emails or taking calls from home
    • the cost of coffee, tea, milk and other general household items their employer may provide them at work
    • occupancy expenses, such as mortgage interest, rent and rates.

    See also:

    Adjusting representative periods

    Based on the changes this year, we expect to see an overall reduction in work-related car, travel and clothing expenses for a number of industries.

    This may be an opportune time to review your clients' claims to ensure that they are applicable in the current financial year.

    If a client's usual pattern of work changes during the year, they may need to complete a new record. This is particularly important where you calculate your client's claims using representative periods like:

    • car expenses – using the logbook method
    • working from home – using the four-week representative period.

    In these cases your client will need records of their normal work-related use as well as a separate record for the COVID-19 period if their circumstances have changed.

    Reconstructing records

    If your client's records have been damaged, destroyed or lost, there are a number of ways they can reconstruct them. Bank or credit card statements alone are not sufficient evidence, but they can be used in conjunction with other documents which outline the nature of the goods or services purchased.

    If your client is unable to obtain a receipt from a supplier, they can still claim a deduction if we are satisfied that the nature and quality of the evidence shows that they:

    • spent the money
    • are entitled to claim a deduction.

    If your client lost their home in the recent bushfires or from another disaster and are unable to substantiate claims made in their tax return or activity statement, we will accept reasonable claims without substantiation, but they will still be required to tell us how they calculated the claim. This is usually only allowed where it is not reasonably possible to obtain the original documents.

    Your clients can keep track of their deductions using the myDeductions tool in the ATO app. They can email you their data so you can include it in their tax return.

    See also:

    Last modified: 17 Dec 2020QC 45702