Work from home during the pandemic? Here’s what you need to know for tax season

Personal finance expert Kelley Keehn joined 'The Morning Show' to answer this question and give some essential tips to benefit from the upcoming tax season.
Click to play video: 'Did you work from home during the pandemic? Here’s what you need to know for tax season'
Did you work from home during the pandemic? Here’s what you need to know for tax season
Financial expert Kelley Keehn joins 'The Morning Show' to share some tips to save big bucks during tax season. – Feb 10, 2021

Tax season is slowly approaching and many Canadians are wondering if working from home this past year will give them a break on their return.

Personal finance expert Kelley Keehn recently joined The Morning Show to break down what these work-from-home deductions could look like.

What qualifies as working from home?

Keehn says self-employed individuals do not qualify for work-home-benefits this tax season.

“Employed, salaried individuals or those that are paid a commission… You must’ve worked more than 50 per cent of the time from home,” she said. “For at least four consecutive weeks.”

The key is to keep letters and/or emails that record your employer requesting you to work at home, she says.

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Two simple ways to file taxes

There are two methods to file your taxes: the temporary flat method and the detailed method.

The first method is a ‘simplified’ one as you “claim $2 for every day you worked from home to a maximum of $400.” It can be claimed per person in a household.

The detailed method is for those who “think their claim will be more than $400.” This might include employment portions of utilities, internet access charges and rent.

“If you’re in Vancouver or Toronto that portion might be substantial,” she added.

What do you need?

“You’re going to need a special form this year… it’s a T2200S or your employer fills out the T2200,” she said.

She recommends looking at options under the detailed method if you’re a commissioned employee.

However, it is a must to keep a meticulous record of your receipts and forms and use the tax calculator provided by the government on its website.

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The government of Canada also brought good news to many households when it announced that self-employed Canadians who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit but were later deemed ineligible won’t have to repay the money.

“They will be forgiven for those requests to pay back up to $14,000 in benefits,” Keehn said. “For those that have already paid it back, they will actually get that money back.”

She also suggests watching out for interest relief on loans and keeping up to date with the government’s response.

To learn more about filing taxes for 2020, watch the full video above. 

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