Tax time is just around the corner so make sure you’re aware of what you can and can’t claim as an education professional.
If you worked from home, you may be able to claim a deduction for the additional running expenses you incurred. It’s important to note that not all expenses are deductible.
Do your homework when it comes to claiming your working from home expenses and follow these simple tips.
There are three methods to calculate your working from home expenses. The method you use will depend on your circumstances (you must meet the recording keeping requirements and criteria to use each method). The methods available are:
Shortcut method - an all-inclusive rate of 80 cents per work hour, available for use between 1 March to 30 June 2020 in the 2019–20 income year and 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 in the 2021-21 income year.
Fixed rate method - 52 cents per work hour (instead of recording all your actual expenses for heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning and the depreciation of your furniture). You need to separately work out your phone and internet, computer consumables, stationery and computer depreciation expenses.
Actual cost method - the actual work-related portion of all your running expenses, which you need to calculate on a reasonable basis. If you use the shortcut method it is all-inclusive, you can’t claim any other working from home expenses, including depreciation of office furniture and equipment. You don’t need a dedicated work area to use this method, however you must keep a record of the number of hours you worked from home.
If you use the fixed rate method, you’ll need a dedicated work area and a diary of a four-week period that represents your pattern of home office use over the income year or actual hours you spent working at home.
You can’t claim occupancy expenses for your home like rent, mortgage interest, property insurance, water, rates or land taxes.
You can claim a deduction for phone, data and internet costs for the work-related use of your own phone or electronic devices. If you claim more than $50, you need to keep records to show your work use. For example, an itemised bill where you can identify your work-related calls and data use.
Remember you can’t claim a deduction if your employer has paid for or reimbursed you for your home office expenses.
For more information, read the ATO’s guide on what teachers and education professionals can claim at ato.gov.au/teacher21.