Working from home? Household expenses may be deductible, say tax experts

A portion of your internet, phone and electricity bills may be written off if you're working from home. Getty Images

Those who have been working from home due to COVID-19 might be able to claim some of their household expenses on their income tax next year, say two tax experts.

“Non-commissioned employees can deduct a part of their cost related to the workspace at home,” said Brianne Cabanayan, tax manager with Baker Tilly Windsor LLP.

People working from home can claim a portion of their home expenses if they are using part of their house for work purposes, according to tax experts.

To be allowed a deduction for home-office expenses, your home (or a portion of it) must either be your principal place of work (more than 50 per cent of your working time must be spent there), or it must be a space designated solely for your work and used on a regular and continuous basis for meeting customers or clients.

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Tax experts said they believe even those who are only working at home for a few months due to COVID-19 would still qualify under the first rule.

READ MORE: Employer still not letting you work from home? How to navigate coronavirus office upheaval

“If you want to apply for these deductions you do need your employer to fill out a form,” Cabanayan said. “It’s called Form 2200.”

The T-2200 form is a Declaration of Conditions of Employment issued by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Employers must fill out the form and declare that they are not reimbursing employees for expenses in order for employees to get a deduction.

The amount people can claim is based on how much of the home or apartment is being used as a workspace.

READ MORE: Canadians think they’ll continue working from home when pandemic ends: poll

“The square footage of your office related to the square footage of your home,” said Micheal Davis, a senior tax expert with H&R Block.

“So that portion is the portion of the bills that we’ll be writing off. As well as, how much time do you use [the space]?”

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It could include expenses such as electricity, gas, property taxes and repairs.

“Things like rent, prorated for what I said about the size and amount of time spent, can be a write-off next year,” Davis said.

“Utilities can be a write-off, property taxes, house insurance, the heating and cooling of your house, your internet fees, your cell phones.”

Employees can also claim 100 per cent of any items such as paper, pens, laptops, printers or toner they had to buy for work purposes, Davis said.

He said the most important note for people is to keep all of their receipts, bills and statements and make sure they have hard copies of them.

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