SARS has issued Draft Interpretation Note 28 (Issue 3)
SUBJECT:DEDUCTIONS OF HOME OFFICE EXPENSES INCURRED BY PERSONS IN EMPLOYMENT OR PERSONS HOLDING AN OFFICE
This Note provides clarity on the deductibility of home office expenses incurred by persons in employment or persons holding an office.
This Note incorporates the changes made to section 23(m) by section 56(1) of Taxation Laws Amendment Act 31 of 2013, and section 35(1) of Taxation Laws Amendment Act 17 of 2017.
It has become common in recent times for employers to require or permit employees to work from home. The reasons for this include supporting flexibility, increasing productivity, health reasons, or as a cost-saving measure for employers to minimize working space and related costs. Such arrangements could be temporary in nature, or may have a degree of permanency. Persons in employment or persons holding an office may therefore wish to claim a deduction for certain expenses incurred in relation to a home office.
Expenses in maintaining a home office have been a controversial issue since the judgment handed down in KBI v Van der Walt. 1 The legislation relating to home office expenditure that a taxpayer may claim, section 23(b), has therefore been periodically amended since 1990. The most recent amendment to have an effect on the deduction of home office expenditure was the amendment to section 23(m)2 which, subject to specific exceptions, prohibits the deduction of certain expenditure, losses and allowances that relate to employment or the holding of an office.
The effect of section 23(b) and 23(m) on the deductibility of home office expenditure for employees and holders of an office is the main focus of this Note.