David Agosti

According to Google Analytics, my most popular "Conversations with the President" article to date was the one on "Free Stuff and Discounts," so I thought I'd be dramatic when titling this post.

As a result of COVID, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has made some changes to home office expense deductions. This means that APSA members who were working from home due to COVID may be eligible for additional tax deductions. Specifically:

“Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has made the home office expenses deduction available to more Canadians and simplified the way employees can claim these expenses on their personal income tax return for the 2020 tax year... Employees who worked from home more than 50% of the time over a period of a least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19 will now be eligible to claim the home office expenses deduction for 2020.”

The University has mentioned this at the bottom of recent News & Events emails and has a dedicated Home Office Expenses sub-page of the Finance department page.

For APSA members (or any University employee) who have worked from home during 2020, you have two options:

  1. A simplified method (where you claim $2 per day up to $400) where you need to fill out a form t777s “Statement of Employment Expenses for Working at Home Due to COVID-19”.
  2. A more complicated method that you may want to use if you think your home office expenses worked out to be more than $400/year. In addition to the t777s form listed above, you will need a T2200S from SFU (they say they will issue them at the same time as your T4).

The Home Office Expenses webpage, mentioned above, provides some good information with links to further information, an FAQ and a calculator. 

I am not a financial advisor, and as always, please do your own research or contact your own financial advisor. I hope that these CRA changes will allow many APSA members to get a little more money back at tax time. You may also want to pass this information along to any of your staff that may not be APSA members — the deduction applies to anyone who worked from home due to COVID.

I also recognize that some of our members — particularly those in Facilities Services, IT Services and Safety and Risk Services, among others — have not had the option to work from home. If that applies to you, I encourage you to talk to your supervisor to see if sometime in the past year working from home “50% of the time over a period of a least four consecutive weeks” applies to you.