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ATO defends changes to WFH rate, record-keeping regime


Media campaign will get taxpayers up to speed but most are already keeping good records, assistant commissioner says.

By Philip King 12 minute read

Most people already keep good work-from-home records so moving to the revised deductions regime will be straightforward and also make the job of accountants easier, ATO assistant commissioner Tim Loh says.

Speaking to Accountants Daily, he said records were always required whichever deduction method was used and the ATO was embarking on a media campaign — taking in everything from TV to its website — to ensure everyone knew about the changes.

He said the decision to move the start date for tighter record-keeping from the beginning of 2023 to 1 March came after feedback from the profession.


“No records equals no deduction and so people have always been keeping records,” he said. “But we recognise it’s a change in terms of the way people keep records and we’ve heard the feedback from external stakeholders during the consultation process.

“So what we did was try to find some middle ground and we decided that the record-keeping requirements will start from 1 March of this year.”

He said taxpayers were already up to speed on timekeeping so it would be an easy change for most.

“We know that a lot of people do have good records, they keep good diaries. And they can also get the timesheets from the employer for the entire period in terms of what they’ve been working from home.

“So from our perspective, we don’t think it’s going to be a difficult transition. But we do want to make sure that we communicate this to the broader community.

“So we’re going to be ensuring that we get this message out through a comprehensive marketing campaign, which we’re launching today.

“So we’ve got educational information across our social media channels, we’ve updated the advice and guidance that we have on and we will be sending educational emails to taxpayers and tax agents.”

The campaign would take in social media, mainstream media, radio, TV, our website and the email campaign would use the ATO’s database to target those likely to claim WFH deductions.

Mr Loh said the revisions to the fixed rate method would also make things simpler for accountants.

“It’s going to make their job easier with the 67c-per-hour fixed rate method because a lot of the work they had to do before was working out whether the work-related proportion of some of these really difficult expenses is deducted, rather than just the entire thing.”

He said the 67c rate would be reviewed to keep it in line with rising costs.

“We understand the difficult economic conditions facing taxpayers these days with the cost of living, and we’re going to continue review the rate to ensure it’s reflective of the quantity of expenses covered.”


Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

You can email Philip on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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