Feds simplify process for work-from-home expenses

Usual process would have imposed 'administrative burden' on employers

Feds simplify process for work-from-home expenses
The CRA will “generally not request that people provide a signed form from their employers.”

The federal government delivered some good news yesterday when it comes to work-from-home expenses.

In its Fall Economic Statement 2020, the government clarified that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will allow people working from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 – with “modest expenses” – to claim up to $400.

The payment is based on the amount of time spent working from home and will not require tracking of detailed expenses.

The CRA will also “generally not request that people provide a signed form from their employers.”

Further details will be communicated in the coming weeks, says the government, but “this measure will help taxpayers access deductions they are entitled to receive and simplify the tax filing process.”

Canadians working from home can already deduct certain home office expenses for tax purposes, says the government.

“But first-time claimants may not be familiar with the rules and the claim process imposes an administrative burden on employers who are already dealing with the broader impacts of

the pandemic and have to fill out additional information for their employees who qualify.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently confirmed that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the three recovery benefits that replaced it are not measures that will be provided permanently for Canadians.

Good news for employers

With so many new remote workers, employers were worried that they would be required to complete T2200 forms so they could claim work-from-home expenses — a “herculean task,” says the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA), and the government’s new streamlined approach is a win-win for employees and employers.

“Eliminating the T2200 for new remote workers in 2020 significantly reduces the burden to employers, enabling the focus to remain on essential business needs during this unprecedented time,” says Peter Tzanetakis, president of the CPA.

Staffing changes and government relief measures add to payroll management challenges during pandemic, says one legal expert.

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