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You can now claim tax deductions for working at home during coronavirus

Wondering if working remotely qualifies for any tax breaks? Read on to find out which home office costs are deductible.

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Employees forced to work from home during the coronavirus outbreak are entitled to some tax breaks, according to the Finnish Tax Administration. Image: Niko Mannonen / Yle
Yle News

Some of the costs incurred from working from home during the coronavirus pandemic can be deducted from income taxes.

Tax officials say they will accept costs for setting up a home office, such as those for working space, equipment, furniture and an internet connection. Deductible amounts depend on the duration of remote work.

"If an individual’s remote work is limited to the state of emergency and does not continue after restrictions ease, then any new furniture or equipment will remain in private use. This means the entire sum can’t be deducted for only a few months’ use," Minna Palomäki, a senior adviser at the Finnish Tax Administration, told Yle.

Each year, income earners in Finland automatically get a 750-euro deduction in their pre-filled tax returns to cover costs related to work, such as that of a monthly public transit pass.

According to Palomäki, most people don’t exceed the 750-euro threshold.

1. Mark each remote work day in your calendar

If you have a remote working agreement with your employer, you are entitled to a home office deduction. The deductible amount hinges on whether remote work accounts for more than half of the year’s working days.

An employee working from home for less than half of the year can claim 450 euros. In this case, the sum is below 750 euros, so there is no provision for an additional deduction.

However if full-time remote working days exceed six months, taxpayers are entitled to a 900-euro home office tax break.

2. Save receipts

While many employers have provided workers with a laptop for working remotely, some employees have had to purchase additional equipment.

You can deduct costs incurred for outfitting a home office, including items like a monitor, keyboard or mouse as well as any expenses associated with fixing or maintaining equipment. Ergonomic desks and chairs also fall into this category.

Equipment costs can either be deducted separately or included in the home office category.

But you don’t have to wait until next year to get a tax break. Expenses up to 1,000 euros can already be made now by adjusting the tax rate.

3. Broadband counts, too

If you needed to increase your internet connection speed to power your home office, that too is eligible for deduction. Half of the the cost of your current broadband subscription also qualifies for deduction if it's also used for work purposes.

The tax office has a tool for calculating the effects of different deductions on the tax rate.

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