2020 Home Office Expenses for Employees Working Remotely

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of you have temporarily shifted to working partly or fully to working from home since March 2020. With the conclusion of 2020, you may be wondering if you can deduct certain expenses on your 2020 personal income tax. There are two options available to you, and information is provided below to assist you in determining which option to utilize.

1.    Temporary Flat Rate Method

  • On November 30, 2020, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced that employees working from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 can claim up to $400.
  • This amount is based only on the amount of days working from home, without the need to track detailed expenses. CRA will not request that people provide a signed form from their employers to claim this amount.
  • Employees who worked from home for more than 50 percent of the time for a period of at least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19 can claim $2 for each day worked form home, to the maximum of $400.

 2.    Detailed Method

  • The “Detailed Method” requires employees to track allowable expenses based on defined use criteria and the employer to provide a T2200 Short Form.
  • Employees would claim a deduction of the employee use portion of eligible work space expenses and supplies in the preparation of their 2020 personal income take return.
  • Employees must have a completed and signed copy of Form T2200S, Declaration of Conditions of Employment for Working at Home Due to COVID-19, from your employer.

While the Temporary Flat Rate Method will be welcome news for most of our employees given its ease of use and deduction level, we do understand that there may still be situations where the Detailed Method is necessary. In those cases, VIU is prepared to issue T2200S forms upon request to employees who may have had to incur expenses because they worked from home in compliance with Provincial Health Office orders and guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next Steps

We encourage all employees to visit the Canada Revenue Agency website to learn more about their options and to determine which process will better meet their individual needs. To assist with this decision, the site includes a calculator specifically designed to assess eligible home office expenses. Employees should also review which expenses are eligible or non-eligible to be claimed using the T2200S form. This will help employees to make an informed choice regarding whether the additional effort required to use the Detailed Method will be worthwhile for them.

Employees who determine that their situation necessitates the Detailed Method can request the issuance of a T2200S form by completing the attached form Request for T2200s. As the deadline for filing income taxes is April 30, 2021, employees are asked to submit their request no later than April 15, 2021 to allow sufficient time for HR to provide the T2200S form.

VIU accepts no responsibility for the manner in which an employee has completed their income tax return and is not able to provide any form of tax advice. If you have any questions outstanding after reviewing the CRA site, it is recommended that you seek advice from a professional tax advisors.