Here’s how to calculate and claim ‘work from home’ expenses according to SARS

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The South African Revenue Services (SARS) says that workers are allowed to claim for home office expenses, but only under specific conditions.

“If you are an employee who works from home and has set aside a room to be occupied for the purpose of “trade”, e.g. employment, you may be allowed to deduct certain home office expenses for tax purposes calculated on a pro-rata basis,” SARS said.

“Provided that you meet the requirements as set out in the Income Tax Act, section 11(a) read in conjunction with sections 23(b) and 23(m).”

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Deductions outlined in the Income Tax Act:

  • You spend more than half of your total working hours working from your home office. According to SARS, If your remuneration is only salary and the duties are mainly performed in this part of the home. It, therefore, means you perform more than 50% of your duties in your home office.
  • Where more than 50% of your remuneration consist of commission or variable payments based on your work performance and more than 50% of those duties are performed outside of an office provided by your employer
  • You have a letter from your employer that states that you can work from home and confirms the percentage of time you spent there
  • You have an area of your home exclusively used and set up for work. If the room is regularly and exclusively used for the purposes of the taxpayer’s trade e.g. employment and is specifically equipped for that purpose. The home office must be set up solely for the purpose of working.
  • Your office is specifically equipped with the relevant instruments, tools and equipment needed to do your work

What legally constitutes home office expenditure?

  • Rent of the premises
  • Cost of repairs to the premises
  • Expenses in connection with the premises
  • Phones
  • Internet
  • Stationery
  • Rates and taxes
  • Cleaning
  • Office equipment
  • Wear-and-tear

How to calculate how much you can claim back from SARS

TaxTim offers a free, user-friendly home office expense calculator which you can use to quickly calculate your expense claim. Before you calculate your returns, ensure you are eligible to claim back.

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