Tax relief if you worked from home due to COVID-19.
January 25, 2021
Many Canadians needed to work from home due to COVID-19, some for the first time. Whether you worked from your home office or your kitchen table, two new methods have been introduced to make it easier for you to claim your employment expenses this year: the temporary flat rate method and the detailed method.
You’ll choose one of these methods to calculate your work-related expenses on a new form, the T777S: Statement of Employment Expenses for Working at Home Due to COVID-19.
Here’s what you should know about claiming your expenses if you worked from home due to COVID-19.
What expenses can I claim?
Eligible expenses include long-distance calls you made for work, home Internet access fees, rent paid for your house or apartment, and utilities such as electricity and heat. The amount you paid for these expenses can be used to reduce the taxes you owe when you file your 2020 return.
For a complete list of eligible expenses, visit the CRA website.
Who can claim their expenses?
These methods are for employees who spent at least 50% of their hours working remotely during 4 consecutive weeks in 2020 because of COVID-19. This includes full-time and part-time hours.
You might still be able to claim your expenses if you went to your workplace, as long as you worked from home most of the time.
Keep in mind that vacation days, sick leave days, and other days off don’t count towards the one-month period.
The temporary flat rate method
By using the temporary flat rate method, you can make a claim without a signed form from your employer or receipts for your expenses. You can claim $2 for each day you worked from home, up to a maximum of $400. In other words, you can claim up to 200 days.
Did you share a workspace with someone else in your home? No problem! More than one person can claim the same workspace using the temporary flat rate method, and you won’t need to divide the amount between you.
The detailed method
If you want to claim the amount you actually paid for your work-related expenses instead of a flat rate, you’ll need to use the detailed method.
First, make sure you have your supporting documents, including receipts for your expenses and a signed T2200S: Declaration of Conditions of Employment for Working at Home Due to COVID-19 form from your employer. The T2200S form is proof that you worked from home and paid for your own expenses.
Next, you’ll calculate the amount you can claim on the T777S form. How much you can claim will be based on:
- The total size of your home
- The size of the area you usually worked in
- If the workspace was in shared area, like the kitchen, or if it was in a designated area, like a spare room or home office
- How many hours you worked there every week
- How many people used the space for work (if more than one person worked in the same area, you’ll need to split the workspace based on how much each person used it)
Visit the CRA website for a guide on how to determine the size and use of your workspace. You can also use the CRA's calculator to find out exactly how much you can claim for your work-related expenses.
If you’re a resident of Québec who needed to work from home due to COVID-19, you can claim your expenses using the temporary flat rate or detailed method on the new TP-59.S-V: Expenses Related to Working Remotely Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic form. If you use the detailed method, you’ll need a signed TP-64.3-V: General Employment Conditions form from your employer.
Need help claiming your employment expenses? Have questions about how doing your taxes might be different from last year? H&R Block can help! Choose from one of four convenient ways to file: File in an Office, Drop-off at an Office, Upload from Home, or Do It Yourself Tax Software.