In situations where taxpayers perform some of their work duties from home they may be entitled to claim a deduction for expenses incurred.
The Taxation Office allows a deduction of $0.52 per hour for the time spent working at home. This claim is designed to cover the cost of heating, cooling, lighting, desk and chair.
Other expenses such as stationery, telephone, internet, computers, filing cabinets etc can all be claimed separately.
As a general rule, expenses associated with your home are of a private or domestic nature and do not qualify as deductions for tax purposes. An exception to this general rule is where part of the home is used for income producing activities and has the character of a ‘place of business’. In such cases some of the occupancy expenses incurred for the home ‑ such as rent, mortgage interest, municipal and water rates, land taxes and house insurance – may be partially deductible.
The following factors, none of which is necessarily conclusive on its own, may indicate whether or not an area set aside has the character of a ‘place of business’:
- the area is clearly identifiable as a place of business
- the area is not readily suitable or adaptable for use for private or domestic purposes in association with the home generally
- the area is used exclusively, or almost exclusively, for carrying on a business, or
- the area is used regularly for client or customer visits.
An example is a salesperson in the country whose city-based employer does not provide an office for them.
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