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WFH: The best tips to put money back in your pocket via tax returns and insurance

You'll be smiling all the way to the bank with these nifty tips of how to make the best of your tax and insurance while working from home. Picture by Good Faces/Unsplash

You'll be smiling all the way to the bank with these nifty tips of how to make the best of your tax and insurance while working from home. Picture by Good Faces/Unsplash

Published May 5, 2022

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Cape Town - Did you know that because you are working from home you could pay less on your car insurance?

These are one of the many pluses about working from home you may not even be aware of which could help you put some money back in your pocket.

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Globally hybrid work models are fast becoming the status-quo, and Ricardo Coetzee, head of Auto & General Insurance, says even if you are only working two days a week at home there are ways to do your tax and home insurance better.

For instance, says Coetzee, there is a difference between home contents insurance and business insurance.

“Home contents insurance covers items used for personal use bought in your private capacity, whereas business insurance covers assets used for business, and which are purchased in the businesses’ name,” he says.

Here is an important checklist that Coetzee and his team put together for anyone still working from home:

1. Who insures what?

LAPTOPS and PHONES:

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If you purchased your work laptop or phone yourself, they need to be insured on your home or portable possessions insurance policy but these assets need to be specified as “items used for business purposes”. If these items were bought by the company you work for, they need to be insured by them.

2. Safety compliance

Make sure that you comply with all fire and electrical requirements set out by your insurer to safeguard yourself, your loved ones, your home and your work equipment.

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3. Security compliance

Ensure that the security systems you have in place, such as linked alarms, meet the requirements set out in your insurance policy.

4. Could you pay less?

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It makes sense that zoom-boomers working from home pay less for their vehicle insurance due to their reduced insurance risk. Ask your insurer if you qualify for a discount because you will be driving less.

5. Tax checklist

With a home office, you can claim – in proportion to the total amount of your home that is used as an office:

* for rent of the premises or bond payment,

* cost of repairs to the premises,

* rates and taxes,

* cleaning costs,

* garden services,

* electricity,

* insurance and security.

This is subject to the following conditions:

a) The room is regularly and exclusively used for the purpose of trade and is specifically equipped for the purpose.

b) If your remuneration consists only of a salary, your duties must be mainly performed in this part of the home and - if more than 50% of your remuneration consists of commission or other variable payments based on work performance, or income incurred from running a business - then more than 50% of those duties must be performed in the designated area

Other home office expenditure that is not included above and may qualify for a separate, full deduction (except if there’s private use to account for) includes the following:

Mobile and other phones, internet subscriptions, stationery, repairs and maintenance or replacement of office equipment, furniture and fittings, depreciation on office equipment and computer equipment, software expenses and insurance on specific assets.

Other home business expenses not related to the property, but tax deductible (as long as you can prove that it was incurred in generating revenue, in operation of a business or in pursuit of new business) includes:

Entertainment, subscriptions, marketing, advertising and promotion, training, office supplies, travel and accommodation (including toll fees, parking, fuel) and some motor vehicle repair and running costs.

6. Home-office checklist:

Pre-check: If you live in a complex or estate, it’s wise to check if the Body Corporate has any regulations in place for running a home office to make sure that you adhere to them.

Security: Shelves and drawers may work well for most documents, stationary and other accessories, but be sure to install a solid storage space – even a safe – for confidential items.

Safety: Make sure that you don’t overburden plugs, that you don’t block equipment’s vent systems and that all chords are tied together smartly to prevent a fire risk.

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