Top tips for a successful home office claim



Let’s face it, SARS didn’t make it easy for taxpayers to claim their home office expenses this past tax season. We can’t blame them really - being faced with millions of newbie work-from-homers, they had to weed out the legitimate claims from the chancers.

At the start of the season, they made it clear that they would only allow claims for taxpayers who had a separate office at home, set up specifically for their work, which was used by them alone. The office could not be used for any other purpose, nor could it be shared with anyone else. SARS enforced these rules very strictly, much to the frustration of many taxpayers, who were forced to scramble at the last minute to setup makeshift ‘offices’ at their homes due to the nationwide lockdown. If they were hoping for some leniency on the home office deduction rules, they were bound to be disappointed with SARS reportedly rejecting 62% of home office claims.

 

Why were so many rejected?

There were a large number of taxpayers who did not qualify according to the strict SARS rules e.g. taxpayers working from their dining room table, or spare bedroom. Then there were many others who calculated their claim incorrectly and / or produced the incorrect documents.

 

Top tips for a successful claim in 2022:

  • You will need to provide 360-degree photos of your home office to SARS. If you are moving out of your property during the tax year, make sure you take photos before you go. Once you vacate the property, it may be difficult to get these crucial photos again (and your ‘office’ may be used for a different purpose by the new tenant/home owner).
  • You cannot use your home office for any other purpose. If your photos show evidence of a bed or wardrobe, SARS will reject your claim on the basis that your ‘office’ doubles up as a spare bedroom.
  • SARS request floor plans of your property – if you don’t have access to municipal plans, hand drawn plans should suffice. Make sure you indicate square meter measurements on the plans with the measurement of your home office clearly shown as well.
  • You must exclude water and refuse from your municipal bills; SARS does not allow these expenses to be claimed.
  • Don’t include internet expenses, SARS won’t allow these (unless you are a commission earner).
  • Don’t include a portion of your bathroom or kitchen in your home office space. Even though you may use these during the day, SARS does not consider them part of your home office!

Claim your home office expenses correctly this coming tax season and get the refund you deserve. Please read our home office blog for further details and be sure to check out our home office calculator.



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