The ATO has now amended Practical Compliance Guideline 2020/3, extending the new temporary 80 cents per hour method for calculating working-from-home deductions to 30 September 2020.
The shortcut method was introduced in April to help taxpayers track working-from-home expenses, with COVID-19 restrictions forcing many workers to adopt remote working practices.
It was originally meant to run from 1 March to 30 June, but the ATO noted at the time that it was open to extending the method, depending on when work patterns begin to return to normal.
The extension of the shortcut method comes as Melbourne faces reimposed lockdown restrictions in a bid to contain a growing number of COVID-19 community transmissions.
As such, many Victorian businesses have now been forced to return to remote working conditions.
The ATO notes in its updated PCG that it will take into account the ongoing COVID-19 situation and may decide to extend the new method beyond 30 September.
The temporary shortcut method will continue to be supplementary to the 52 cents fixed-rate method and the actual cost method of calculating running expenses, with taxpayers able to choose the appropriate method for their circumstances.
The shortcut method will cover all deductible running expenses, including electricity for lighting, cooling or heating; running electronic items, phone and internet costs; and the decline in value of a computer, laptop, home office furniture and furnishings.
Records of the hours worked at home, in the form of time sheets or diary notes, will need to be kept to claim the shortcut method.
View the ATO’s updated PCG 2020/3 here.