Due to COVID-19 outbreak, many of the employees in Australia have been encouraged to work from home
The ATO has declared a relaxation to the normal work from home rules and initiated a latest fixed rate of 80 cents that will cover all the deductions. This method has been effective from March 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020.
From the following three steps, your additional running expenses can be calculated:

Shortcut Method

This method claims a rate of 80 cents every working hour for all the additional running expenses.

Fixed-Rate Method

This method claims the following:

  • A value of 52 cents each hour for cooling, heating, lighting and cleaning and decrease in the value of furniture of the office
  • The work-related portion diminished the value of the computer, laptop, or any other device in similarity.
  • The work-related part of your internet and telephone cost, paperwork, and computer consumables.

Actual Cost Method

This claims the exact running expenses of the actual work-related portion that requires to be calculated on a reasonable basis. In the shortcut process, you can ask for 80 cents deduction for each hour you work from home due to COVID-19, for as much time you will be:

  • Working from home to fulfill your work duties and not only doing trivial activities like monitoring emails or making calls occasionally.
  • Incur extra deductible operating expenses related to work from home.

You need not have a distinct area of your house set aside to work, like any private study.

This method includes all the deductible running expenses that cover:

    • Power for cooling, lighting, and heating of the office equipment like computers and the cost of gas heating.
    • Reduction in repair and value
    • Cost of internet
    • Stationery
    • Consumables of computer like printer ink
    • Cost of your phone that involves the deduction in the value of the handset
    • The capital items like furnishings and furniture of home and office

You will not have to pay any of the expenses, but as a result of operating from home because of COVID-19, you would have incurred extra expenses in every category.
When you use an alternative method to claim a deduction for your extra operating costs, you would not be entitled to claim any further reduction of any of the expenses listed above.
You should keep a record of the number of hours that you have worked from because of COVID-19 such as diary notes or timesheets.

The social distancing has come up with unexpected changes in productivity at many workplaces; it could be affecting the mental health of employees.

The safety experts advise the companies to give priority to the health and well-being of the workers at the time of this difficult period.