2020 Income Tax: What you can’t—and can—claim for your work-from-home office during the COVID-19 pandemic
You furnished a functional home office, you’ve got face masks ready by the door for when you need to run an errand, and you bought sanitizer (so many bottles of sanitizer). You’ve done your part to stay home and help flatten the coronavirus curve. The question now is: Can you write off working from home during the pandemic and any of these things you bought because of COVID on your taxes?
We hate to tell you this, but right now, the answer is no. Before we dive into what can’t be written off, let’s address the self-employed people (including myself) reading this piece.
If you’re self-employed
“Nothing has changed, nothing has been announced,” says Jennifer Gorman, the social care manager at Intuit, who answers tax-related questions on the company’s social media channels. (She’s also a tax expert with 30 years’ experience.) “That’s not to say that things won’t change when Parliament reconvenes [the end of September 2020], but currently there have been no official changes.”
If you’re self-employed, continue with your regular tax processes until you hear otherwise from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
If you’re a salaried employee with a T2200—or you want to ask for it
If you’re a salaried employee, you’ve probably heard about the T2200. It’s the form your employer fills out that tells the CRA what aspects of your job are mandatory and for which you have incurred expenses when you work from home, says Gorman. Salespersons who travel a lot with their own personal vehicles are generally provided with the T2200; but who else qualifies?
“I’m a good example of a T2200,” she explains. “I’ve always worked from home for this company, so every year they send me a copy of the T220 that says I was required to use the internet because I work from home. I only get to claim the work-from-home expenses.” Not sure if you have access to a T2200 or if you would even qualify? Ask your employer and/or your HR department.
COVID-related claims for your home office
Let’s look at what expenses may or may not be deducted on your 2020 income taxes, whether you have a T2200 or not.
Sorry, no. That fabulous Canadian-made mask that shows your love of the Raptors, or your “commitment to sparkle motion” is not deductible—unless you’re working in a field that requires it, says Gorman. If your T2200 permits it, you’re good to go. For the rest of us, until the CRA says otherwise, it’s a no.