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The good news for anyone claiming a home office on tax

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Increasingly, we demand flexibility in the way we work or run our business and it is now common for people to spend at least some of their time working from home.

The hourly rate that you can claim for deducting home office expenses is increasing to 52c, up from 45c, for individual taxpayers, effective from July?1, 2018.

If you claim deductions for work- or business-related home office running expenses, you can either claim a deduction for the actual costs you spend or a deduction calculated at the rate of 52c an hour.

If you choose the cents per hour method, you don't need to keep detailed substantiation (invoices, etc).

home office working from home tax

You only need to keep a record to show how many hours you spent working from home for a representative four-week period.

If you're claiming actual costs, among the deductions you can potentially claim are:

  • Home office equipment, including computers, printers and phones. Claim the full cost (for items up to $300) or the decline in value (for items costing $300 or more). 
  • Work-related phone calls (including mobiles) and phone rental. You can claim a portion reflecting the share of work-related use of the line if you can show you are on call, or have to phone your staff, employer, customers or clients from home. 
  • Heating, cooling and lighting. 
  • Repairs to office furniture and fittings. - Office cleaning expenses.

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Mark Chapman is director of tax communications at H&R Block, Australia's largest firm of tax accountants, and is a regular contributor to Money. Mark is the author of Life and Taxes: A Look at Life Through Tax.
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