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Millions of Aussies set to make $10b tax mistake

Many Australians don't know they can claim working from home expenses on tax. Images: Getty

This year has been the year of the work from home revolution, and if Australians aren’t aware of their tax opportunities, they could be losing billions. 

That’s according to new research from Officeworks which found that Australians missed out on more than $10 billion in unclaimed working from home expenses in 2019. 

That figure – compounded by the huge increase in remote workers – poses a threat to Australians’ hip-pockets, Officeworks spokesperson Jim Berndelis said.

The survey found that 37 per cent describe themselves as having little to no understanding of the tax period, but 51 per cent have been financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Of those, 53 per cent have suffered a loss of income, 41 per cent have had their hours cut and 27 per cent are facing other financial pressures. 

“Tax time can be overwhelming and complicated for some people, made even more evident by only 17 per cent of people surveyed claiming they have a good understanding of the tax period,” Berndelis said. 

“With many Australians being affected financially by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to know what is available to you especially from products purchased to work from home.”

More than one-third (35 per cent) of respondents said they were working from home but 22 per cent were unaware that they could claim some remote work expenses on tax.

And as more than half of those working from home have purchased items to support their home office, Berndelis said it’s critical to clue up this season. 

“Speak to a taxation professional who can provide guidance on what you can claim, particularly on working from home purchases and identify exactly what you need to do to get sorted this tax time and, ultimately, maximise your tax return.”

Generally speaking, Australians working from home can claim the depreciation of office equipment, small capitals items like furniture and computer equipment that cost less than $300, printer ink and stationery. 

Here’s the full run-down of what you can claim if you’re working from home.

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