WORKING FROM HOME IN 2020 DUE TO COVID-19: EMPLOYEE EXPENSES
April 9th, 2021

The Canada Revenue Agency offers two new options to claim employment expenses related to working from home in 2020:

  • Temporary flat-rate method – eligible employees can claim a flat amount ($2 per day to a maximum of $400). No employer certification is required.
  • Simplified detailed method – for eligible employees who claim actual expenses related to working from home, supported by receipts. Employer certification (a signed Form T2200S) is required.

To be eligible to use either method, an employee must meet all of these conditions:

  • They worked from home in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • They worked from home more than 50 percent of the time for at least four consecutive weeks in 2020.
  • They’re only claiming home office expenses and not any other employment expenses, such as car payments or entertainment.
  • Their employer didn’t reimburse all of the employee’s home office expenses.

Note that if an employee was working from home before COVID-19, they’re not considered to have worked from home in 2020 due to the pandemic. As a result, they aren’t eligible to claim expenses under these new options. However, they may be able to deduct home office costs under the historical method of claiming employment expenses.

Temporary Flat-Rate Method

Confirm that you meet all of the conditions for eligibility above, and tell your accountant how many days you worked from home due to COVID-19.

A workday at home can be full-time or part-time hours, but it doesn’t include vacation days, sick leave or other leaves of absence. If you worked from home from March 16, 2020 to December 31, 2020, except for weekends and public holidays, the total would be about 200 days.

Several people working from the same home can each make a full claim.

Simplified Detailed Method

Confirm that you meet all of the conditions for eligibility above and give your accountant a completed Form T2200S, Declaration of Conditions of Employment for Working at Home Due to COVID-19, from your employer. If you need a blank copy, your accountant can provide one.

List your home office expenses and the percentage of your home that was used as a workspace. If you also used your workspace for non-employment purposes, provide the number of hours per week you occupied it for your job. Keep all receipts and supporting documents in case the CRA asks for proof of your expenses.

Eligible expenses include rent, electricity, water, heat, utilities, maintenance, home internet fees, office supplies, employment use of a basic cellphone service plan and long-distance calls for employment purposes.

Employees who earn commission income can also claim property taxes, home insurance and lease of a cellphone, computer, laptop, tablet or fax machine that reasonably relate to that income.

Posted in COVID-19 + Tax Tips for 2020 Tax Year

Share This