As tax time looms, the ATO has pointed to four key ineligible work-from-home claims it will be watching closely as taxpayers look to make the most of flexible working arrangements.
The ATO on Thursday urged all taxpayers to be aware that, while the temporary shortcut method will remain available to those claiming work-from-home deductions this year, personal and occupancy expenses, among others, cannot be claimed through any method.
Personal expenses like coffee, tea and toilet paper — while may be made available by some employers — aren’t directly related to earning income, and cannot be claimed by taxpayers who were forced to adapt from hybrid working arrangements last year.
Other ineligible expenses include those related to a child’s education, like online learning courses or laptops, as well as large upfront costs. Those could include any asset that costs over $300, like a computer, which can’t be claimed immediately and should instead be spread out over a number of years.
The ATO also warned that employees generally aren’t able to claim rent, mortgage interest, property insurance, or other land taxes and rates. The Tax Office said that working from home does not make a taxpayer’s home a place of business for tax purposes.
The ATO warns that claiming occupancy expenses could expose some taxpayers to capital gains tax when they leave their homes.
The temporary shortcut method, which in January was extended to 30 June this year, allows taxpayers to claim a fixed rate of 80 cents an hour for all running expenses incurred as a result of working from home, as opposed to calculating costs for specific expenses.
The method’s introduction did, however, spell the end of a measure which required taxpayers to have a dedicated work-from-home area, factoring in multi-person households, where each working taxpayer would now be able to claim.
“The shortcut method is straightforward; just multiply the hours worked at home by 80 cents,” said Tim Loh, assistant commissioner at the ATO. “The only proof you need is a record of the number of hours you’ve worked from home, such as a timesheet.”
The method covers a range of running expenses including electricity for lighting, cooling, heating and the running of other electronic items; phone and internet costs; and the depreciation of various items spanning computers, laptops, home office furniture, and other household fixtures that see wear as a result of a taxpayer’s working arrangements.
However, the shortcut is all-inclusive, Mr Loh said, and can’t be supplemented by additional, individual expense claims on items like phone and internet costs and other depreciation claims on items like furniture and laptops.
“If you decide to go with an existing method, I would encourage you to do your research and keep good records,” Mr Loh said.
“Keeping track of each individual expense and calculating the work-related use of each one can be fiddly, so be organised. “So, make sure you’ve read the guidance on our website or chat to your registered tax agent.”
The ATO’s reminder follows a separate call from Moore Australia earlier this week for taxpayers to keep a diligent log of the hours they work from home this year as tax time looms.
“To claim home office deductions using the shortcut method, individuals need to keep a record of actual hours worked at home,” said David Tomasi, chairman of Moore Australia. “The shortcut method is not compulsory, and individuals can still claim based on actual expenses incurred.
“However, they would then have to comply with the necessary, and more complex, record-keeping requirements.”
Tax agents and self-lodgers interested in using the method will need to include a note that reads “COVID-hour rate” in their tax returns, Moore Australia warned.
The Tax Office last extended its simplified working-from-home deduction method in January while New South Wales was reckoning with the containment of a COVID-19 outbreak which sent Sydney’s northern beaches into lockdown.
Introduced last April, it was first due to expire at the end of the last financial year, before it was in June extended to September last year, and then until December.
07 May 2021
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While our accounting skills are very important in delivering the financial analysis and interpretation needed for better strategy development and implementation it is how we use these skills and experience in the following areas that make our efforts even more productive.
The accommodation and hospitality industry is subject to many rules and regulations and it is part of our role to ensure our clients are kept abreast of changes and the financial impact that can accompany such change.
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The technology industry faces very rapid change. The extent and variety of this change in the last twenty years alone has been hugely diverse and at a pace that sees companies come and go in very short periods of time.
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Guests Accounting are here to help you with your accounting; whether you’re looking to grow a business of your own or just sort out your own finances and taxation.
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Managing a transport & logistics business can be a time consuming and complex task. You have to make sure that your staff can perform well, are receiving appropriate payment in regards to their wage and superannuation, plus then there’s the range of OH&S and compliance issues that must be followed.
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Over time, you may want to change the direction your business is heading and this could lead to financial issues. Financial advice and services from professionals could help you and your business keep on track with your goals and evolve positively. Guests Accounting can provide professional accounting advice and services as your business progresses, grows and changes.
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Avi Paluch became a partner in 1975. His client base comprises of professionals in a diverse range of industries, sole traders, national, multi-national and international groups in relation to taxation and management issues.
His clients also include large family groups and high net worth individuals. In addition, he is involved in a range of audits. Avi currently involves himself in various community boards in the capacity of honorary treasurer.
His other interests are being with his family and attending sports events.
Andrew Goldberger joined Guests in 1987. Prior to that he occupied a senior position with the Australia Taxation Office. As well as looking after a diverse range of groups of SMEs and high wealth individuals, Andrew is an expert in taxation. He has been involved in a number of Large Income Tax and State Revenue Audits and provides advice on various technical tax issues and areas of tax planning. Andrew also consults to other practitioners in these areas.
Andrew has also written articles for various taxation publications including CCH and participated in taxation focus groups. He is regularly called on to address various public practitioner groups on taxation matters and has conducted training sessions for CPA Australia.
Ha joined Guests Accounting in 2002 and has earned her position to having been recently appointed a Partner in the firm. Since obtaining a Bachelor of Business (with Distinction) at RMIT, Ha has completed an MBA at Monash University and recently a Masters of Taxation at Melbourne Law School.
Having worked for a number of ASX Listed companies before joining Guests, Ha possesses both robust technical skills in management accounting and turn-around strategies, accounting technologies, together with in depth knowledge in public practice as a tax specialist and business advisor.
Ha’s diversity and quality of clients have accorded her a never-ending opportunity to learn. This has fuelled her ongoing loyalty to the firm to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. Maintaining a good rapport with clients and well known for her personal and caring approach, she believes embracing new technology will be instrumental in providing deeper insights to their business. She has effectively utilised her knowledge, skills and creativity to the benefit of many of our clients’ business, both large and small enterprises.
As a firm believer in the importance of life time learning, Ha intends to continue her professional engagement with Australian professional bodies and institutions. Whilst regularly speaking and lecturing at Monash University and Latrobe University, she is actively involved with CPA Australia as an author and a group leader for the “Practice Management” Module of the CPA Professional Public Practice program. She is also a member of the Victorian Public Practice Committee CPA Australia, and a board member of KOTO International, a not-for-profit organisation in Australia.
Moshe joined Guests Accounting in 1985 and has more than 40 years of extensive experience. He has an indepth understanding of business and is responsible for a diverse group of clients and is in charge of the Superannuation Team and the Audit of superannuation funds.
Moshe’s knowledge in many different areas including business structuring, accounting, taxation, auditing, SMSFs and business planning in various industries enables him to provide advice on ‘the big picture’, taking into account both present and future needs of clients.
Moshe has been involved in various not-for-profit organisations during his career in an honorary capacity. This has given him a good grounding in the corporate governance area. Moshe continues his interest in the new regulatory environment of the not-for-profit sector.
Mory graduated from Monash University in 1979 and joined our team with more than 20 years experience. He is a member of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the CPA and a Fellow of the Association of Taxation and Management Accountants.
After more than 18 years experience with a Chartered firm, Mory travelled to the United Kingdom and gained invaluable experience working with various Accounting and Legal firms in London, developing operating systems and in investigative accounting roles.
Mory joined Guests in March 2002 and became a partner in July 2005, specialising in Taxation and Business Services. Mory has also served on the executive of community boards and not-for-profit organisations.
Gary Bryfman is a FCPA, having a Masters Degree in Taxation. His earlier accounting background was in industry, specialising in costing and budget preparations.
He has been a partner of Guests for 31 years. Gary has been involved in a number of Jewish organisations, including JCCV as honorary treasurer; CSG, JEMP and advisor to MDA executive.
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Email is very convenient in our business world, there is no doubting that. However email messages and attachments can be intercepted by third parties, putting your privacy and identity at risk if used to send confidential files or documents. Secure File Transfer eliminates this risk.
Please enjoy the links to these free tools supplied by MoneySmart - a great resource for general financial information. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any questions that you may have as a result of using these calculators.
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