South Africans can claim a tax deduction if they have worked from home for more than half of their total working hours or for more than six months during the tax year that started in March 2020, says Elani van der Westhuizen, senior tax technical at TaxTim.
Van der Westhuizen said that TaxTim offers a home office expense calculator which will help you calculate your expense claim.
However, before using the calculator, Van der Westhuizen said that you need to first meet these minimum requirements:
- You have spent more than half of your total working hours working from your home office.
- 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.
- Your office is specifically equipped with the relevant instruments, tools and equipment needed to do your work.
“If you meet these requirements, you can claim rent or interest on your bond, repairs to the premises, rates and taxes, water and electricity, cleaning, data usage, wear and tear of office equipment and all other expenses relating to your house only.
“If you earn commission that is more than 50% of your total salary, you can also claim for other commission-related business expenses, such as a phone, internet, stationery and printer repairs,” said Van der Westhuizen.
To determine your home office deduction, Van der Westhuizen said that workers should calculate the total square meterage of their home office in relation to the total square meterage of your home and convert this to a percentage.
This percentage is then applied to the home office expenditure to calculate the portion that is deductible, she said. Van der Westhuizen added that TaxTim’s home office expense calculator can also do this for you.
“These claims will not be listed on their SARS auto assessment and therefore it is important to ensure that you add these to your tax return yourself.
“This situation is different for sole proprietors or freelancers who work from home because they can automatically deduct all their home office expenses.
“They also do not have to meet the same stringent conditions to qualify for a deduction,” van der Westhuizen said.