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By Marty Santana*
In a year where Covid has been rampant and many of the working conditions have changed, there should be some account of the additional costs incurred by taxpayers for working from home.
Taxpayers can claim a tax deduction if they have worked from home for more than half of their total working hours or for more than six months during the tax year that started in March 2020. Taxpayers must meet the minimum requirements to claim this expense on the income tax return:
- You have spent more than half of your total working hours working from your home office.
- You have a letter from your employer that states that you can work from home and confirms the percentage of time you spent there.
- You have an area of your home exclusively used and set up for work. Your study cannot just be a desk in a room used for other purposes, it must be exclusively used as a study.
Once the taxpayer meets these requirements, they can claim rent or interest on their bond, repairs to the premises, rates and taxes, water and electricity, cleaning, data usage, wear and tear of office equipment and all other expenses relating to your house and based on the percentage of area. The data usage and wear and tear expenses are not based on the percentage of area. If the data or office equipment is more than 50% used for business purposes, then the full cost can be claimed and is not apportioned.
NB: You will need to update proof of all expenses paid when uploading documents once return is submitted so ensure you have all invoices before making a claim.
To determine your home office deduction, workers should calculate the total square meterage of their home office in relation to the total square meterage of your home and convert this to a percentage.
This percentage is then applied to the home office expenditure to calculate the portion that is deductible. These claims will not be listed on the SARS auto assessment and therefore it is important to ensure that the auto assessment is not accepted and that the taxpayer adds these to the tax return themselves.
Do not accept the auto assessment that is sent out by SARS.
One of the questions on the wizard when preparing the income tax return is the following:
Did you receive any other income (excluding amounts received/accrued as a beneficiary of a trust(s), or deemed to have accrued in terms of s7) and/or incur any other allowable expenses not addressed above?
This must be marked as Yes.
This will bring up an additional page where the expense can be claimed.
Below is an example of expenditure you can claim.
Do you own or rent your property? Rent Yes/No Own Yes/No
Rental expenditure for renters
Water and Electricity
Repairs and Maintenance
Security = Total household expenditure
Square meterage of study/
Square meterage of total property = % of expenditure claimable for study
Claim in full the cost of Internet and Wear and Tear of Office Equipment.
Please note …….