The tax man is watching, a Border accountant has warned, and residents working from home for the first time need to learn what they can and cannot claim or risk an audit.
With rumours flying everything from coffee to toilet paper can be claimed while working from home, the Australia Tax Office has announced it will be looking closely at home expenses.
Findex partner and accountant Marcus Davis said just because a business can claim an expense like coffee, does not mean an employee working from home can.
"If you've got employees and you're providing them with coffee and biscuits ... without doubt you can claim those but individuals aren't a business so you can't claim what I'd call 'business expenses'," he said.
Mr Davis said getting professional tax advice was key because the ATO would be looking at expenses closely.
"Particularly this year we've heard a lot of it clients say 'oh I was speaking to the guy down the road and they claim this, or that'," he said.
"You've just got to be careful around what you are and are not able to claim.
"The ATO have four years up their sleeve to come back and knock on your door.
"It may be that they won't focus on individuals over the next six to 12 months because of JobKeeper ... but I have no doubt once their resources come back to normal they'll come back to focusing on this year."
Mr Davis said there were three main options available to people working from home due to COVID-19.
Firstly, he said, the government have introduced a specific shortcut method, which allows people to claim 80 cents per hour they've worked from home since March 1.
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He said you can claim the 80c shortcut without substantiating anything other than the hours worked from home.
"It covers electricity, gas, internet, phone, copy paper, depreciation on your desk, your chair, whatever it is you could possibly claim including all your home office expenses," he said.
Mr Davis said for those who have invested significantly in a new home office set up it could be worth exploring whether they would be better off making individual claims for expenses.
Where it gets difficult, he said, was in proving what proportion of your electricity bills were used for work versus private expenses.
The third option available to people with a dedicated home office space is to claim the fixed rate of 52 cents per hour worked which covers the decline in value of home office furnishings, electricity and gas for heating and lighting, and the cost of repairs to your home office.
On top of this you can claim phone and internet expenses and other deductions.