The Government of Canada has made significant changes to claiming home office expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This tax break is claimed on your personal income tax return.
The information below is for information only and is not intended to be considered as formal tax advice. Also note that depending on your province of residence, additional deductions may be available on your provincial tax return. We strongly recommend that PSAC members do their own research or contact their tax advisor or an independent professional advisor if needed.
- Who is eligible for the working from home deduction?
Anyone, whether they are a government employee or not, who worked more than 50% of the time from home for a period of at least four consecutive weeks due to the pandemic, is eligible to claim a deduction.
- I was not required to work from home, but my employer gave me the option. Am I eligible?
Yes. If you were not required to work from home, but your employer gave you the choice to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may claim the deduction.
- I am eligible for the deduction. What amount am I entitled to?
The amount of the deduction depends on the method chosen and the number of days worked from home.
- What are the deduction methods?
The deduction can be claimed by using the temporary flat rate method or the detailed method.
Temporary flat rate method
With this method, you can claim $2 for each day you worked from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The maximum you can claim is $400. Your employer does not have to complete and sign any forms and you do not have to keep supporting documents.
With this method, you can claim the actual amounts you paid, supported by documents. Your expenses for work-related use and for personal use of the home must be separated. Your employer must fill out and sign Form T2200S or Form T2200 to justify the deduction.
- Which method is best suited to my needs?
The claim method you choose depends on your personal circumstances. Below is an example that illustrates the differences between the two methods. We encourage you to select the method that is best for you and to consult a tax professional.
An employee worked at home from April to September, except for a few vacation days and holidays.
Total days worked at home due to the pandemic: 112
The employee rented a one-room apartment for the six months they worked at home.
Total monthly cost: $1,550
Total cost for the six months worked at home $9,300
Floor space of apartment: 56 m2
Floor space of office: 12 m2, or 21.4% of the apartment’s total floor space
Using the temporary flat rate method: 112 days x $2 = $224
Using the detailed method: 21.4% x $9,300 = $1,992
Note that this calculation is simplified since the personal portion of some costs may differ from the example. To determine your potential claim, we recommend using the government’s calculator or consulting your tax advisor.
If you live in Quebec, you can consult the Quebec government's calculation tool.
- What is the difference between Form T2200 and Form T2200S?
Form T2200 is the Declaration of Conditions of Employment. It must be filled out by your employer for you to be able to claim employment expenses.
Form T2200S is the Declaration of Conditions of Employment for Working at Home Due to COVID-19. It is only intended for employees who worked from home in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you must pay for expenses other than those related to working from home (e.g., the use of a vehicle or commission for a signed contract), the employer must fill out Form T2200.
- What is considered a day worked from home?
A day worked from home is a day you worked full-time or part-time hours from home.
Days off, vacation days, sick leave days and other leaves or absences cannot be counted as days worked from home.
- What expenses are eligible with the detailed method?
Eligible expenses for the detailed method generally only include home maintenance costs, rent, internet and utilities. In addition, the claimable portion is limited to the proportion of the entire living area of the home used for the home office. The CRA also requires taxpayers to retain receipts of all expenses claimed as well as the basis for the proportion of their home used for work.
Other expenses, such as mortgage interest and insurance, are not eligible.
- How can I make a request to use the temporary flat rate method?
After confirming you are eligible, you must first calculate the number of days in 2020 worked from home due to the pandemic. Enter that number and amount of the claim in Option 1 of Form T777S (Statement of Employment Expenses for Working at Home Due to COVID-19).
Then enter the amount from line 9939 of Form T777S on line 22900, Other employment expenses, on your 2020 income tax return. You must file Form T777S with your income tax return.
Detailed steps can be found in the How to claim section.
- How can I make a request to use the detailed method?
Then enter the amount from line 9368 of Form T777S or Form T777 on line 22900, Other employment expenses, on your income tax return. You must file Form T777S or T777 with your income tax return. Do not include the supporting documents. You must retain Form T2200S or T2200, but do not file them with your income tax return.
Detailed steps can be found in the How to claim section.
- What should I expect from my employer?
Under the Income Tax Act, the employer is not required to complete T2200 or T2200S forms.
If you want to use the detailed method, you can request T2200 or T2200S forms from the employer.
It is recommended that you perform a draft calculation and consult your financial advisor before obtaining the completed and signed forms from the employer.
- I live in Quebec. Do I have to follow the same procedure?
The Quebec government also offers a tax deduction for people who have been teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quebec provides two options: The Temporary fixed rate method and the Detailed method.
It is recommended that you use the Quebec government's calculation tool and consult a tax advisor to determine which method is most advantageous for you.
You can also consult the Government of Quebec's Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 for more details.