“You have to keep track of the number of hours you use in the home office and multiply that number by 52 ¢ an hour,” says Chapman.
In addition to claiming the 52 ¢ an hour, you must have proof of all expenses incurred for telephones and the Internet, computer consumables and stationery and for the depreciation of any computer or other equipment.
These require supporting documents, such as receipts for purchases and proof of accounts paid to telecommunications providers.
The second method for claiming a deduction is the actual operating costs, the expense journal is kept which can be produced if requested by the ATO.
“You keep a journal of how much of your household operating expenses are related to working in your home office,” says Chapman.
“The diary should detail the time you spend in the home office and how much time is related to work,” he says.
“Of the two methods, this generally produces the larger deduction, but the record keeping requirements are much more stringent,” he says.
Many workers have laptops or phones provided by their employers when working from home, which cannot be requested for tax purposes.
About a third of taxpayers file their own tax returns. They may want to consider getting help from a tax consultant, whose fees are tax deductible, especially if they use the diary method and calculate the depreciation of home office equipment. The ATO also has a home office expense calculator which includes information on the depreciation request.