Up-to-date work from home and tax changes for South Africa

As more and more South Africans work from home on a permanent basis, employees need to be aware of insurance and tax considerations, experts say.

A recent survey by employment agency Michael Page Africa found that 71% of local applicants think that working remotely will be more important than before in the companies they are currently employed with.

That said, even if they had a choice, many employees would still come to the office for part of the work week.

A separate survey by Robert Walters found that around 40% of respondents would like to work remotely full-time. About a quarter (27%) indicated that they would like to work remotely at least half of the time.

“If employees work from home two days a week, or four days a week, there are some insurance and tax boxes that need to be ticked,” said Ricardo Coetzee, head of Auto & General Insurance.

“Before that, however, it is prudent to keep in mind the difference between household contents insurance and corporate insurance. Household contents insurance covers items used for personal use purchased privately, while company insurance covers assets used for business and which are purchased in the name of the company. “

Coetzee has provided an updated work breakdown from home insurance and tax considerations to be aware of.


Insurance checklist

  • Who insures what ?: If you bought your laptop or work phone, they must be insured on your home or movable property insurance policy, but these assets must be specified as “items used for business purposes”. If these items were purchased by the company you work for, they must be insured by that company.
  • Security Compliance: Make sure you comply with all fire and electrical requirements set by your insurer to safeguard yourself, your loved ones, your home and your work equipment.
  • Security Compliance: Make sure your security systems, such as connected alarms, meet the requirements set out in your insurance policy.
  • Could you pay less ?: It makes sense that zoom boomers who work from home pay less for vehicle insurance due to their reduced insurance risk. Ask your insurer if you are entitled to a discount because you will be driving less.

Tax checklist

With a home office you can request – in proportion to the total amount of your home used as an office – the rent of the premises or the payment of a deposit, repair costs of the premises, tariffs and taxes, cleaning costs, gardening services, electricity, insurance and security, under the following conditions:

  • The restaurant is regularly and exclusively used for commercial purposes and is specially equipped for the purpose.
  • If your salary consists only of a salary, your duties must be performed mainly in this part of the house and – if more than 50% of your salary consists of commissions or other variable payments based on work performance, or income from management of an enterprise – therefore more than 50% of those tasks must be carried out in the designated area

Other home office expenses that are not included above and are eligible for a separate full deduction (except if there is private use to account for) include cell phones and other phones, Internet subscriptions, stationery, repairs and maintenance or replacement of office equipment, furniture and fittings, depreciation on office machines and IT equipment, software costs and insurance on specific assets.

Other non-property-related but tax-deductible household expenses (provided you can prove they were incurred to generate revenue, to run a business, or to pursue new businesses) include entertainment, subscriptions, marketing, advertising and promotion, training , office supplies, travel and accommodation (including tolls, parking, fuel) and certain motor vehicle repair and operation costs.


Home Office Checklist

  • Pre check: If you live on a complex or estate, it is advisable to check if the institution has any regulations in place for running a home office to make sure you are complying with them.
  • Safety: Shelves and drawers can work well for most documents, stationery, and other accessories, but be sure to install solid storage space, even a safe, for confidential items.
  • Safety: Make sure you don’t overload the plugs, don’t block the venting systems on your equipment, and that all cords are smartly tied together to prevent the risk of fire.

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