Tax season: Here's what you can and can't claim this year

·2 min read
Canadian T1 and T4 tax forms are used to prepare taxes. (Primestock Photograpy - image credit)
Canadian T1 and T4 tax forms are used to prepare taxes. (Primestock Photograpy - image credit)

Did you set up a home office during the pandemic, work from home or are still working from home?

It's tax season again, and Dawn Kennedy from the Canada Revenue Agency has some tips on what you can claim this time around.

The home office

Home offices can fall into two categories.

A dedicated room with a door, or open concept — a corner of a rec room for example — where you have to calculate the percentage of the room where you actually work.

"People who are thinking about taking this credit, really the bare minimum is working four weeks [consecutively] from home due to COVID. At least 50 per cent of that time you're working from home," Kennedy said.

Expenses in a home office

There are two options for claiming expenses incurred from working in your home office.

Kennedy said there's a simplified method and a detailed method to look into when filing your next tax claim. For the simplified method, Kennedy said, no calculations are required.

"You simply claim $2 a day, to a maximum of $400. [There are] no forms required, no signatures from your employer, you just claim that on your tax return," she said.

Things such as an electricity bill, home internet and rent can be claimed this tax season if you worked from home in 2020.
Things such as an electricity bill, home internet and rent can be claimed this tax season if you worked from home in 2020.

"There's a second option, which is a detailed method, where you may have more expenses than [$400]. You may have a big space in your home that you're using. Things like heat, internet, maintenance of your home, you may have to buy supplies — those types of things can add up."

Kennedy said the CRA website has everything you need to know for making your claim this year, including an online calculator for those going the detailed route to help assist with adding up expenses.

Things you can claim:

  • Electricity costs.

  • Home internet (but not connection fees).

  • Rent.

  • Maintenance and minor repair costs such as paint.

  • Pens, paper and ink.

Things you can't claim:

  • Mortgage payments.

  • Furniture.

  • Capital expenses such as replacing windows, flooring, furnace.

  • Wall decorations.

Kennedy said that while this new credit is available for this year, there are a couple of things for people to keep in mind.

"Some of the COVID benefits are taxable as well, so don't forget to include that in your tax return. Some already have tax deducted like the CERB payments, and CRB payments and the initial ones for students, no tax was held on those," she said.

"Keeping in mind, you've got new taxable benefits there. We do expect that many people will take advantage of this deduction to offset that."

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