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Record keeping tips: working from home, self-education and depreciation

Thursday 29 August 2019

Different rules can apply to how records must be kept depending on what type of expenses you are claiming for. 

Working from home

When claiming running costs for your home office (such as electricity and home office equipment) the types of records you need to keep depends on the method you use to work out your claim – fixed rate or actual costs.

Fixed rate. If you are using the fixed rate method (52c per hour from 1 July 2018), either keep records of your actual hours spent working at home for the year, or keep a diary for a representative four-week period to show your usual pattern of working at home.

Actual costs. If you are claiming the actual costs you have incurred, keep your receipts for items you will claim outright (for example, receipts for stationery or statements for electricity and gas).

Self-education expenses

You must keep receipts for all self-education expenses, including course fees, text books, stationery and travel expenses. You must also be able to explain how the course directly related to your employment at the time of study.

If you are claiming the portion of a depreciating asset that you have used for self-education (such as a laptop), you must keep receipts and a depreciation schedule, or details of how you calculated your claim for decline in value.

Specific records required for depreciating assets

Some items, like a computer or car, have a limited life expectancy (effective life) and are expected to depreciate over time or decline in value. You must keep receipts that show the:

  • name of supplier
  • cost of the asset
  • nature of the asset
  • date you acquired the asset
  • date of the document.

You also need to be able to show:

  • the date you first started using the asset for work-related purposes
  • the effective life of the asset (how long an asset can be used for). If you have not adopted the effective life determined by us, you will need to show how you worked out the effective life.
  • the method used to work out the decline in value
  • how you have calculated the percentage of work use.

We can help with any decline in value deduction for a depreciating asset, and also assist you with some of the relevant record keeping requirements.

Remember to ask us for help and guidance for any of your work-related deduction claims.

Record keeping tips:  working from home, self-education and depreciation Back