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Changes To Tax Refunds And Deductions By Australian Tax Office Because Of COVID-19

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Before the end of the financial year on June 30, the ATO has decided to introduce several changes in the tax return rules. The changes have done intending to bring easiness in the filing of a tax return, especially for Australians who are confronting major issues just because of Coronavirus, said ATO Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat.

According to Foat, the ATO acknowledges that amid this tax period, loads of people (working from home) are likely going to seek claim deduction. Besides, they have also paid attention to protective items.

Shortcut For People – Working From Home

ATO has simplified the process of claiming. For instance, now workers can easily calculate work-from-home-expenses with the help of shortcut by ATO.

Moreover, this shortcut also comes under some rules and regulations. Accordingly, expenses between March 1, 2020, and June 20, 2020, have been covered here. However, all family members who work from the same home are eligible to use this shortcut.

Therefore, if you also work from your home, then simply add incurred expenses by you while working from home in the other expenses related to work. Now add the ‘COVID-19 hourly rate’ in the following numbers.

According to Foat– if you want to claim the deductions, keep the record of your working hours (while-working-from home) and use the shortcut method. On the other hand, you can’t claim for those expenses that aren’t the part of “working from home expenses”.

For claiming- “work from home expenses,” you can also use old methods.

Claim for Protective clothing

You can also claim for the deduction if during Coronavirus you have incurred expenditure on the purchasing of protective items. Such as, you can claim on your tax return if you have purchased protective equipment like masks, gloves, spray, antibacterial, and sanitizers.

Also, taxpayers who are operational during Coronavirus and require to maintain contact or proximity with clients can also claim a deduction for protective items.

Travel expenses and laundry expenses

Since workplaces were “off” amid pandemic, ATO expects a decline in the claims for “Travel and Laundry expenses.” For instance- no claim for travel expenses if there’s no travel history. No laundry expenses if uniforms have not been worn – said, Foat.

Even though, during the period of working from home, if you have to go to the office once in a week, then still you aren’t eligible to claim travel expenses because it will be considered a private trip.

Redundancy and stand down payments

It’s essential to include stand down payments in your income payments, as these payments are taxable. However, these payments also include sickness payments, protection payments, or accident payments. All these payments must be mentioned by the workers while filing the returns.

Early super access

Foat also mentioned that you don’t have a need to declare the amount withdrawn from super in your tax return. The withdrawn amount is tax-free under the program. Therefore, if you have already obtained the early access to super due to COVID-19, then undoubtedly it’s a point of relief for you.

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