Many of us work after hours at home or spend a portion of our week working from home. Quite often you might use our own equipment for this, especially if you don’t have a work laptop or removing it from the office poses a security risk. If this is this case for you, it’s likely you could claim a portion of your personal computer costs as a deduction on your tax return.
How to claim a laptop on your tax return?
Unless you use the laptop 100% for work related purposes, you’ll need to calculate how much use is work related and then claim that percentage of the depreciation on your tax return.
Calculating your business use percentage
Keep a diary of your computer or laptop use for 4 continuous weeks and make a note of the time spent on your computer for both work and for personal use. You can then work out what percentage of your computer use is work related. Here’s an example…
Georgie keeps a diary of her personal laptop use for four weeks. She calculates that her total computer use was 94 hours. She used it for work related purposes for 63 hours while her leisure use was 31 hours. Therefore, to calculate her business percentage she does:
63 hours / 94 hours = 67.02% work related.
This means Georgie can claim 67.02% of the laptop related costs she has during the year.
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. Essentially this means you claim the purchase price of the computer over multiple years rather than right away.
How to claim your laptop on your tax return
The Etax.com.au tax return makes it very easy to claim your computer’s depreciation each year.
Simply add the “Computer / Laptop” deduction section to your return, enter a few details about your computer, including the purchase price, plus your work related percentage and our accountants will do the rest for you.
Can you claim your laptop separately if you claim work from home expenses?
Yes, both of the work from home expense methods (actual cost method and 67 cents per hour fixed rate method) allow you to claim your laptop (or computer) separately to boost your tax refund. Read about claiming work from home expenses here.
TIP: The Actual Cost Method will usually give you a better refund as in addition to your computer use, you can also claim a tax deduction for internet and mobile phone usage as well. Establish what percentage of your internet and phone use is for work purposes (just as you did for your computer) and claim that percentage of your internet and phone bill as a tax deduction as well.
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, instead of the purchase price.
Can you prove it?
These days, most employers provide their employees with a company laptop or reimburse them for purchasing their own device. So, when it comes to claiming a computer as a tax deduction, remember you can only claim it if you paid for it yourself, you have a receipt and you were not reimbursed by your employer.
Other Related Posts:
Claim your home office expenses and increase your tax refund
How to claim work-related phone calls on your tax return
Claiming self education expenses as tax deductions
The top 5 forgotten tax deductions
Work at home parent – the ultimate balancing act