What Home Expenses Are Claimable in Your Tax Return?

Posted on: 19 May 2015

If you work from home at all, you might be wondering what you can claim when submitting your next tax return. Whether you work from home for your own business or as an employee, full-time or part-time, you should be able to claim some expenses.

Knowing what exactly is claimable can be tricky; a tax consultant can help you wade through the finer details. In the meanwhile, here are some broad guidelines.

The Basics

Commonly, as far as tax purposes are concerned, your working from home experience falls into several categories. Your home might be your principal place of work so that you run your own business from home. A chiropractor who has a consultancy room set aside at home, for example, would fall into this category.

Alternatively, you might sometimes work from home either for your own business or as an employee who takes work home. What you can claim will depend on whether you have a designated work area set up at home, or whether you work in a general living area such as at the kitchen table for example.

Running Costs

Whether you principally or only sometimes work from home, either in a designated work area or general living area, you should be able to claim running costs to some degree.

If you have a designated work area at home, usually you would work out the floor space of that area as a percentage of the floor space of your entire home. This figure would then be used to calculate what proportion of utility costs such as heating, cooling and lighting to claim. If you use an assigned workspace, the depreciation of items such as carpets, curtains and light fittings are often claimable as well.

If you work in a general living space, a standard method used to calculate expenses is to multiply the estimated total number of hours worked in a year by the ATO's predetermined rate of 0.34 cents per hour.

Equipment Costs

You should be able to claim either the cost of equipment, such as computers, printers and phones, or else claim its depreciation value. If you use equipment for both private and work related use, the portion of work-use only is claimable.

Working from home does incur costs. A tax accountant should be able to comb through the fine details and help you to claim your legitimate expenses so you will be better off when putting in your next tax return.