The Rise of Remote Work in Australia

According to recent statistics, working from home is on the rise in Australia, with about 37% of Australians regularly working remotely. However, with the increasing cost of living, 53% of remote workers feel that their home office expenses are higher than those they would incur at their workplace. These expenses include costs for coffee, tea, electricity, printing, internet, and other office supplies. To shed light on this topic, financial expert Elson Goh from the School of Business and Law at Curtin University joined Jo in the studio.

Balancing Benefits and Challenges of Remote Work

Working from home offers the convenience of working in comfortable clothes and flexibility in managing personal tasks. However, it also presents challenges, such as increased personal expenses and the potential for decreased productivity due to the casual nature of the home environment.

Employers are aware that some employees might exploit the flexibility of working from home. Yet, to remain attractive and avoid being seen as inflexible, many companies continue to offer remote work options. This also leads to additional costs for employers, such as maintaining office spaces and ensuring cybersecurity for remote operations.

How to Maximise Tax Return: Tax Deductions for Home Office Expenses

There are two primary methods for claiming tax deductions for home office expenses:

  1. Fixed Rate Method: You can claim 67 cents per hour worked from home. This rate covers expenses like internet, phone, electricity, and gas. It does not require keeping detailed records but does not include significant costs like laptops, which must be claimed via depreciation.
  2. Actual Cost Method: This involves claiming the actual costs of home office expenses, requiring detailed receipts and an apportionment of expenses based on usage. This method can include larger items like furniture and occupancy expenses, such as mortgage interest or rent. However, claiming occupancy expenses might result in capital gains tax when selling your home, so professional advice is recommended.

What You Cannot Claim

Certain expenses are not deductible, including:

  • Coffee, tea, milk, and general household items
  • Children’s education-related expenses
  • Subscriptions for children’s entertainment

Expert Tips on How to Maximise Your Tax Return

For those unsure about what to claim, Elson suggested using the fixed rate method for simplicity. For more detailed claims, ensure that expenses are directly related to work and that you can logically apportion personal and business use. The ATO also provides an online calculator to help determine eligible expenses based on your occupation.


Understanding how to maximise your tax return can significantly ease the financial burden of working from home. By choosing the right method for claiming tax deductions and knowing what expenses are deductible, you can make the most of your work-from-home situation.

Listen to the full conversation with Elson Goh below!