Home Office Expense Claims Up to $400 to Be Permitted This Tax Season

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Across Toronto — and the rest of the country — countless people have transitioned from office days to the work-from-home life over the last nine months due to COVID-19.

Initially, many may have held out, working from bed, the couch, or the dining room table with hopes the return to normalcy would be nigh.

But, as a collective, we quickly learned that this is the new normal, so we may as well get comfortable.

If you’re one of the people who ordered themselves a proper desk, an ergonomic chair, or any other “office-like” items to make the long-haul prospect of working remotely more accessible for you, good news: the federal government has announced that “home office expense” tax claims of up to $400 will be permitted in the coming tax season.

READ: Many of Toronto’s Essential Workers Can’t Afford to Live Here: Report

During typical times, Canadians who work from home are already able to claim certain home office expenses for tax purposes.

For example, individuals who are self employed can write off the home-office portion of heat, electricity, water, maintenance, property tax, home insurance, and, most significantly, mortgage interest or rent, so long as the claims apply to a space that is dedicated for work. (Read: not making just enough space amongst the crumbs on your kitchen island for your laptop to rest.)

But with millions of people across the country now working from home when they haven’t before, the federal government is streamlining the claim process so that those “working from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 with modest expenses” will be able to easily claim up to $400.

Deductions will be based on the amount of time working from home, without the need to track detailed expenses, and — generally — it won’t be requested that individuals provide a signed form from their employers.

“First-time claimants may not be familiar with the rules and the claim process imposes an administrative burden on employers who are already dealing with the broader impacts of the pandemic and have to fill out additional information for their employees who qualify,” reads the Fall Economic Statement 2020.

“This measure will help taxpayers access deductions they are entitled to receive and simplify the tax filing process. Further detail will be communicated by the CRA in the coming weeks.”

With files from Christina Varga.

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