During the pandemic, most of us have at some point grabbed our laptops and set up office at home.
For many it has been a difficult challenge, juggling work commitments with childcare, while trying to avoid the allure of the refrigerator.
But did you know you can claim tax relief on your household costs when working at home? Even if it has only been for a few days in the tax year?
Here, Andrew Diver, Head of Tax at Beatons Group, explains how to make your claim.
During the height of the pandemic, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported almost half of all UK adults were working at home.
Although there may be financial advantages in this – saving on the cost of a commute for example – there are also hidden costs.
The extra electricity and heating you will need to pay when working at home soon mount up and could leave you out of pocket.
Employers can give a £6 allowance, tax free, to their staff, however, with many firms struggling to stay afloat, many have not been able to.
If your employer can’t or won’t pay these expenses, then you can ask for it to be deducted from your taxable income.
Who can claim?
If you have worked from home this tax year, even for a single day, you can claim tax relief.
HMRC has recently confirmed the work from home relief scheme has been extended for the 2021/22 tax year, meaning those who have worked at home can claim for both the 2020/21 and current tax year. If you claimed for 2019/20, make sure you claim again for the subsequent years as it is not carried forwards like other allowances.
This could mean an extra £62 a year for basic taxpayers working from home and £125 a year for higher rate taxpayers.
You can claim the tax relief if you have been required to work at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, even for one day a week, but cannot claim if you chose to work at home.
But remember, the tax relief is done on an individual basis – so if you live with a partner or other people, they can claim for the tax break too.
How do I claim?
You can make a claim through the government’s website.
You will need a Government Gateway user ID and password, which you can register before you claim if you have not yet done so.
If you think you have accrued higher costs than the £6 a week it is possible to claim more, but you will need receipts to prove it and must show that the costs were due to specifically working from home.
To make your claim, visit https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home
If you would like help in making a claim or supporting your employees to file a claim, we can assist. Please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01473 659777.