If you claim a personal laptop or computer as a tax deduction, it can add a good few dollars to your tax refund. However, you must genuinely use them for work, all or part of the time.
A good many of us work after hours at home or spend a portion of our week working remotely. Quite often we use our own equipment for this, especially if our work computer is a desktop or removing their laptop from the office poses a security risk. If is this case for you, it’s likely you could claim your own laptop or computer as a tax deduction.
How do I claim a computer as a tax deduction?
You’re able to claim a percentage of your laptop or computer by claiming the ‘business use percentage’.
To start with, you need the following records:
- Proof of purchase for the computer (or laptop) plus the software you use for work.
- The purchase date.
- The business use percentage.
Working out your business use percentage
You should keep a diary of usage for 4 weeks, and make a note of the time spent on your computer for work and for personal use. You can then work out what percentage of your computer use is for work.
Can you claim a one off tax deduction or do you need to claim depreciation?
- Was the cost under $300? If your computer cost under $300, you can claim a one-off, immediate tax deduction for the business use percentage of the purchase price. (The same goes for any software you bought that you use for your work.)
- Was the cost more than $300? You can only claim the depreciation of your computer over the life of the equipment. The ATO states that the life of a computer is 4 years and 2 years for a laptop.
Do you hire your computer or laptop?
You can claim your computer expenses even if you lease or pay a monthly fee for your computer. Claim the business portion of the lease payments on your tax return.
Can you prove it?
Most employers provide office facilities and equipment so you don’t need to work at home or, if you do, you don’t need to use your own equipment. So when it comes to claiming a computer as a tax deduction, you do need to have a genuine reason and it must be a requirement of your job. It’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll need to prove that personal computer use is a requirement of your job if the ATO request further clarification.
Keeping it simple
The Etax.com.au tax return makes it very easy to claim your computer’s depreciation each year. Simply enter a few details about your computer and the purchase price and our accountants will do the rest.
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