Working from Home and the Canadian Tax Season

2020, so far, has been a year like no other. A year that has put us through a few ups, and many downs.  A year that has seen billions of people forced to adapt to a new way of living – and a new way of working. Early estimates from April say that at a minimum 5 million Canadians are working from home, and in the US, and around the world, there are reports of millions and millions more doing the same. We are currently seeing an unprecedented amount of people working from home, something that has not been possible until recently. There have been many companies and politicians who have advocated for a Work from Home shift, and our current situation allows for a global trial of that. So, as more and more of us are working from home and getting accustomed to that, what do we need to know about the future?

One thing that many people may not know about is how this Work from Home situation will affect you during tax season. The Canadian Revenue Agency has released some very useful information about how you can write off a portion of your expenses if they apply to your at-home office. “You can deduct expenses you paid in 2019 for the employment use of a workspace in your home, as long as you meet one of the following conditions:

  • The workspace is where you mainly (more than 50% of the time) do your work.
  • You use the workspace only to earn your employment income.
  • You also have to use it on a regular and continuous basis for meeting clients, customers, or other people in the course of your employment duties."

Currently, there is a bit of confusion around how the Canadian Revenue Agency will handle this large influx of people filing for these deductions, and there are rumors that the CRA will be releasing more updated guidelines and a much more streamlined way to take advantage of this process. The main issue is that in order to file these work from home expenses, you need to request a very specific form from your employer, a T-2200 form, which normally wouldn’t be a big deal if it was only a handful of employees doing this, but we are now talking about every employee with every employer. That's a lot of paperwork. This leads directly to the CRA potentially reworking this process, with new guidelines coming in the fall, and ensuring less work for the employer, and an easier-to-navigate system for employees.

As Canadians, this shift is something we will have to consider for the foreseeable future. We have now grown used to Working from Home, and there are estimates that even when people start returning to their offices, we will see around 64% of Canadians remaining at home for work, while the 36% that returns to the office will most likely only spend a couple of days a week there, and the rest at home. This fast and major change has forced the CRA to take a long look at what is possible and what will be possible for workers as they continue to work in this new era.

At Blue Link, we are taking the safe approach. We have established guidelines for working from home, and are seeing fantastic results. With the help of Microsoft tools, communication across teams and departments is easy with regular meetings, , and our team has continued to develop new features, serve customers and generate new sales. Even though we may not all be under the same roof, we're all working together to do our best.