Claiming a computer, phone or other electronic device as a work-related expense
If you are an employee and required to use your computer, phone or other electronic device for work purposes, you may be able to claim a deduction for your costs. There are rules you need to check, and records you need to keep.
You may be entitled to claim deductions for home office expenses:
- Running costs may be deductible, (such as heating, cooling and lighting)
- Decline in value (depreciation) of home office furniture and fittings
- Decline in value of office equipment and computer
- Computer consumables, stationery, telephone and internet costs claimed on an actual expense basis
- Occupancy expenses are generally not deductible for an employee.
What can be claimed?
If you perform some of your work from a home office, you may be entitled to a deduction for the costs you incur in running it, including:
- for home office equipment, such as computers, printers and telephones, the cost (for items costing up to $300) or decline in value (for items costing $300 or more).
- work-related phone calls (including mobiles) and phone rental (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 employer or clients regularly while you are away from your workplace
- heating, cooling and lighting
- the costs of repairs to your home office furniture and fittings
- cleaning expenses
How to claim Home Office Expenses?
Diary/ receipts method
- receipts or other written evidence of your expenses, including receipts for depreciating assets you have purchased
- diary entries you make to record your small expenses ($10 or less) totalling no more than $200, or expenses you cannot get any kind of evidence for, regardless of the amount
- itemised phone accounts from which you can identify work-related calls, or other records, such as diary entries (if you do not get an itemised account from your phone company)
- a diary you have created to work out how much you used your equipment, home office and phone for business purposes over a representative four-week period.
Tax Office rate per hour method
You can use a fixed rate of 34 cents per hour (updated for 2011 tax year) for home office expenses for heating, cooling, lighting and the decline in value of furniture instead of keeping details of actual costs. You just need to keep a record of the number of hours you use the home office and multiply that by 34 cents per hour. Under this method you can also include the decline in value of office equipment (i.e. computers, faxes, etc.) but not furniture.
What Home Office Expenses can't you claim?
As an employee, you are generally not able to claim a deduction for occupancy expenses, which include rent or mortgage interest, council rates, and house insurance premiums.