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It’s official: Stay out of office till October, and SARS will let you claim home office costs | Business News Articles
Chartered Accountant & Business Consultant - Meredith Harington
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It’s official: Stay out of office till October, and SARS will let you claim home office costs

Amid some uncertainty, SARS has confirmed that full-time employees will be able to claim home-office expenses during lockdown. But you have to work from home for at least six months of the tax year. And you can't just work from your dining room table.

Amid some recent uncertainty, the SA Revenue Service has confirmed that full-time employees will be able to claim home-office expenses during lockdown.

Typically, people who earn commission and independent contractors claim these expenses.

But full-time employees can also claim if they work from home for at least six months of the tax year. This means that you would have to work from home at least until the end of September, if you left the office at the start of the national lockdown.

If an employee’s duties are mainly performed from their home, they will be able to claim some expenses, a SARS spokesperson confirmed. To take a simple example, if an employee works normal office hours for a single employer for the tax year from 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021, this requirement will be met if the employee performs their duties from the home office for more than half the year.

However, your home office must be specifically equipped for work - and "regularly and exclusively used" for such purposes, he added. This means that you must have a dedicated work area – you can’t just use your dining room table for work.

These are some of the expenses you can claim for a home office:

  • Part of the interest on your bond, or part of the rental of the home - as well as municipal rates and taxes, including water and electricity. This will take into account the floor space of your home office, compared to the total floor area of your house. If, for example, your home office is 20 square metres and your house is 200 square metres then you can deduct 10% of the qualifying expenses such as rates and taxes or interest payable on bonds. You can't deduct all your expenses.
  • You can also claim for stationery, and data costs.
  • Wear and tear on office equipment.

However, there could be possible ramifications of using your house as an office. The first R2 million of any capital gain on the sale of your home is ordinarily exempt. Part of this exemption could be lost if you claim a home office allowance. You would need to take professional advice to see if this could impact on you.

~ article courtesy of Business Insider SA, 20 July 2020

 
 
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