Review information on claiming employment expenses (under normal circumstances, as well as during COVID-19).
Claiming Home Office Expenses
UBC generally supplies office space and equipment to faculty and staff, and under normal circumstances, it is rare that employees are eligible to deduct employment expenses on their tax return. In normal years, in order to deduct these expenses employees must have a signed T2200 tax form from their employer stating that certain conditions have been met. It is rare for UBC employees to meet these conditions and to be issued a T2200.
Since March 2020, however, many UBC employees have been working from home as a result of our response to COVID-19. Recognizing the special circumstances of the 2020 tax year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has announced two new ways employees may be able to claim home office expenses:
- Option 1: the new “Temporary Flat Rate Method”. The CRA has introduced this new method for 2020 to allow employees to claim up to $2 per work day, to a maximum of $400, without the need to track detailed expenses. It is a simple flat-rate process that is included as part of completing the T1 general return.
- Option 2: The “Detailed Method”, including the new T2200S form: This option includes the existing practice of issuing T2200 forms to eligible employees, and the introduction of the new T2200S form. Both the T2200 and the T2200S require detailed receipts to substantiate all expense claims.
- T2200: The T2200 is not new. It is the routine form issued for Canadians who are contractually obligated to work from home and pay for home office expenses. The majority of UBC employees do not qualify for this form.
- T2200S: The T2200S is a new form for 2020. It is a simplified version of the T2200, and certifies that employees worked from home due to COVID-19 and had to pay their own home office expenses.
The university will be proactively issuing T2200S forms electronically to all faculty and staff for whom UBC is the employer, in time for the filing of personal tax returns.
Full information on home office expenses is available for Canadians on the CRA website. The following links from CRA may also be helpful
- Specific details about the two methods for claiming home office expenses in 2020
- An online calculator so users can compare results under options 1 and 2 above
Please remember that in issuing the T2200S forms, UBC is only certifying that employees worked at home for a period of time during 2020, during which they were required to pay for home office expenses directly relating to their employment duties at UBC. It will be up to the employee to self-determine which — if any — of the options for claiming employment expenses they should pursue, as well as the official details of their deductions, and employees are encouraged to consult with personal tax advisors as necessary.
Please also note:
- Employees who did not work from home after March 16, 2020, should disregard the T200S form.
- Items claimed through UBC’s $400 one-time, tax-free equipment reimbursement, or any other home office expenses reimbursed by UBC, can not be claimed again on a personal tax return.
- Employees who left the university between March 16, 2020, and December 31, 2020, will need to contact the university to receive their T2200S form.
To support employees in understanding these options in a UBC context, we have prepared the following resources:
Working from Home: COVID-19
As a result of COVID-19 measures, many UBC faculty and staff members moved to working off-campus. In an effort to support professional, productive and ergonomic work spaces for faculty and staff working from home, UBC provided a one-time, tax-free reimbursement of up to $400 for the purchase of certain equipment between March 16, 2020 and December 4, 2020. Please note that this reimbursement was distinct from the CRA tax relief initiatives listed above.
To claim this reimbursement, expenses needed to be submitted by December 4, 2020.