Doing your tax return can be complicated, especially if you have to claim for working from home for the first time.

People who worked from home over the past year can now claim tax back if they spent more than half their working hours or more than six months during the tax year between March 2020 and February this year working at home, if they meet the minimum requirements.

Calculating your tax refund sounds complicated, but you can use the TaxTim home office expense calculator to help you calculate your expenses claim if you qualify.

“It is important to do this yourself, as these claims are not listed on your SARS auto assessment and you have to add it yourself,” says Elani van der Westhuizen, senior tax technician at TaxTim.

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 Minimum requirements

The minimum requirements are:

  • You must have spent more than half of your total working hours working from your home office.
  • You must have a letter from your employer that states that you can work from home and confirms the percentage of time you spent there.
  • You must have an area in your home set up for work where you only do work.
  • Your office must be specifically equipped with the relevant instruments, tools and equipment needed to do your work.

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 What you can claim for

If you meet the requirements, you can claim:

  • rent or interest on your bond
  • repairs to the premises
  • rates and taxes
  • water and electricity
  • cleaning
  • data usage
  • wear and tear of office equipment
  • all other expenses relating to your house only.

Commission earners

You can also claim for other commission-related business expenses, such as a phone, internet, stationery and printer repairs if you earn commission of more than 50% of your total salary.

Calculation

To determine your home office deduction, calculate the percentage of your home office in relation to the size of your house. Apply the percentage to the home office expenditure to calculate the deductible portion, Van der Westhuizen explains.

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Sole proprietors and freelancers

Sole proprietors or freelancers who work from home can automatically deduct all their home office expenses and do not have to meet the same stringent conditions to qualify for a deduction, Van der Westhuizen says.

Ina Opperman



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