Tax benefits for working from home

Private Property South Africa
Professor Peter Surtees

There are tax benefits to working from home but they are limited. If you earn remuneration it’s very difficult indeed to claim any deductions for your home office expenses. If you earn mainly commission it’s a bit easier. If you are self employed you may claim all expenses directly connected with your business, including a proportionate share (usually based on floor area) of repairs, cleaning, wages, electricity, bond interest and so on. However, two elements militate against this:

(1) very often the tax benefit is too small in relation to the difficulty of the calculations and record keeping, especially since SARS is quite likely to require you to provide proof of your expenses, and this can be time consuming;

(2) you know that the first R1.5 million of any capital gain on disposal of your primary residence is excluded from the CGT calculation. Well, this exclusion is reduced in the same proportion, so your benefit is less.

In short, you can get tax benefits from working from home but they come with a couple of health warnings.

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