CRA Offers Work from Home Deductions for 2020

·3 min read

As we say good-bye to 2020 tax time is just around the corner and the Canada Revenue Agency has announced that it is introducing a simplified process to claim office expenses for those who were working from home during the pandemic. Eligible employees can claim a deduction if they worked from home more than half of the time over a minimum of four consecutive weeks due to the pandemic. The process includes a temporary flat-rate method which will allow those eligible to claim a $2/day up to a maximum of $400, for each day they worked from home during the pandemic. With this new temporary method, employees will not be required to submit a completed and signed Form T2200 or Form T2200S from their employer. The existing detailed method is still acceptable and employees with larger claims for home office expenses may still use this when calculating their home-office expenses. National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier said in a statement, “The temporary flat rate method and the new user-friendly calculator will make it easier for more Canadians to claim the deductions.” The shorter qualifying period, the government said, would ensure that more employees who worked from home this past year would be able to claim the deduction than otherwise would have been possible.

Statistics Canada reported that 4.7 million Canadians who don’t normally work from home started doing so in the last half of March this year as a result of the pandemic. In a survey conducted between April 9thand 11th by the Vancouver-based polling firm Research Co. found that 73% of respondents thought working remotely would become a permanent component of work options and 65% who were working remotely would like to continue doing so in the post pandemic era.

In another survey completed in September by ADP Canada Co. and research firm Maru/Blue, 45% of all working respondents said they would like to work remotely at least three days a week and more than one quarter said they would prefer to have flexible work hours, but 69% said they would not be willing to have for example, a reduced work week. The results show that employees want some choice in how and when they work, and since the highest support for working remotely comes from respondents in the 18 to 34 age bracket where 61% showing a preference for this which may reflect the needs of young parents to juggle work demands with raising children. Of those over the age of 35, 43% of respondents said they would prefer the option to work remotely at least part-time.

What the workplace will look like in the future is something that can only be hypothesized about but the vice-president of marketing at ADP Canada, Heather Haslam, said in a press release, “Employers that embrace flexibility within their culture may improve employee engagement, retention and performance.” The pandemic created an opportunity for employers and employees to experience working remotely and to see the pros and cons of that work environment. For some it was a positive experience they wish to continue with and for others they longed for the return to “normal”. Regardless where employers and employees fall on the spectrum one thing is certain, the worldwide pandemic has shown that work can still be productive even without employees being in the same physical space and an office can be anywhere.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder