Can I claim my rent on tax if I'm working from home?

Can you claim your rent on tax? Source: Getty
Can you claim your rent on tax? Source: Getty

As vast swathes of the Australian workforce have been forced to swap out office blocks for kitchen tables, questions are now turning to the huge tax implications.

However, while you can claim heating, electricity and certain office items on tax, you are unable to claim your rent or mortgage repayments on tax, even if you’re working from home.

“Unfortunately, if you are working from home you cannot claim any element of your rental costs or mortgage repayments. These are ‘occupancy’ costs and are not included in the scope of working from home costs,” H&R Block director of tax communications Mark Chapman told Yahoo Finance.

“Only ‘running’ costs such as electricity, gas and water are claimable. If you run a business from home, you may be able to claim a proportion of your rental or mortgage costs but not if you are simply working from home.”

Here’s how to claim these costs.

Okay, got it. What if I’m living in a shared house?

Australians working from a shared house might also be wondering how and whether they can claim running costs if they’re not included on the bills.

The good news is you can still claim these expenses.

“You simply need to be able to prove that you have contributed to the bills,” Chapman said.

“A rental agreement will (usually) set out this kind of detail but any other form of written agreement for the sharing of bills will do, as will evidence of payments to the person whose name is actually on the bill.

“You can of course only claim the element of the payments that relates to your work from home, not for normal domestic or private usage.”

The ATO recently announced a simpler way to claim taxes, under the ‘80c’ rule. Here’s how it works.

Yahoo Finance Breakfast Club Episode. Source: Supplied
Yahoo Finance Breakfast Club Episode. Source: Supplied

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