In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, many of us have had to work from home. As a result, the ATO have released the following concessions for this financial year.

As an employee, you can now claim home office expenses without the need to have a dedicated room or space at home to work.
There are three different ways to claim your working from home expenses. Which method you use will depend on your individual circumstances and eligibility.

The shortcut method
From 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 a new rate has been introduced which means you can claim 80 cents per hour in working from home expenses. This rate covers all deductible running expenses including:
- Electricity for lighting, cooling or heating and gas heating expenses
- Depreciation and repair of equipment e.g. home office furniture, computers
- Cleaning expenses
- Telephone costs
- Internet costs
- Computer consumables such as printer ink
- Stationery
The shortcut method requires minimal record keeping and may be a simpler way to claim.

The fixed rate method
Alternatively, you may choose the fixed rate method to claim deductions.
If eligible, the fixed rate method allows you to claim 52 cents per hour which does not capture the additional expenses of telephone, internet, computer consumables and stationery. These expenses would be calculated separately per their work-related use and would need to be supported by records (e.g. receipts and other written evidence). To use this method, you need to have a dedicated work area, such as a home office when you work from home.

The actual cost method
Using the actual expenses method, you can claim the additional running costs you directly incur due to working from home.

This includes:
- Electricity for lighting, cooling or heating and gas heating expenses
- Depreciation and repair of equipment e.g. home office furniture, computers
- Cleaning expenses
- Telephone costs
- Internet costs
- Computer consumables such as printer ink
- Stationery

Things to note:
1. You cannot claim a further deduction for any of the above expenses.
2. You must keep a record of the number of hours worked from home.

The following expenses cannot be claimed as home office expenses:
- Coffee, tea, milk and other household items your employer may have provided you with at work
- Any expenses relating to children and their education
- Any expenses you’re reimbursed for by your employer e.g. a laptop or phone

Individuals who have their wages supported through the JobKeeper Payment (JKP) system are still entitled to claim work-related expenses how they usually would, however there are no extra deductions available because of the JKP system.

More info:
https://www.ato.gov.au/General/COVID-19/Support-for-individuals-and-employees/Employees-working-from-home/