Can I claim anything for working from home?

21 Jul 2020

Since the UK lockdown was announced on the 23rd of March, many of us have been working from home. If you’re someone who has found yourself doing just that, then you may be wondering if there is anything you can claim, or any tax relief available to you.

Well, the good news is, the answer’s YES and, even better news, making your claim is surprisingly easy! But let’s start with some information about who can claim and what can be claimed for:

Your home must be a workplace, but not by choice.
Your home is classed as a workplace when you perform all or part of the central duties of your employment there, and when your employer or situation requires you to work there. (Thanks to lockdown, this will now apply to most people). However, if you choose to work from home when the option of another workplace is available to you, then you are not entitled to claim for any expenses or extras.

You can’t claim for things that you already pay for, but you can claim for costs that are increased due to homeworking.
Unfortunately, expenses such as your mortgage, rent, council tax and water rates (which don’t change regardless of whether you work from home or not) can’t be claimed for. What you can claim for are expenses such as electricity and metered water which have gone up as a result of your working from home. Similarly, if your Wi-Fi costs have increased you can claim for those too, but if your Wi-Fi bill hasn’t changed (regardless of whether or not you use it for work) it can’t be included in your claim.

As you can imagine, apportioning and calculating your exact claim would be pretty complicated! Thankfully HMRC are aware of this and so allow for a flat rate claim of £6 per week, without the need for record keeping. It may not sound much, but £6 per week for 12 weeks equates to £72 and every bit counts!

There are two ways to make your claim:

– You can claim the £6 per week (or £26 per month if you’re paid monthly) directly through your employer as a tax-free addition to your wages.

– Or, as a sole trader, self-employed worker or Director of a Limited Company you can make your claim as part of your usual tax return or on the HMRC website here. These expenses are always claimed for retrospectively, so it’s probably best to wait until you’re back to work as normal before making a claim for the whole period.

It’s worth noting at this point that you are allowed to claim for more than the £6 per week rate if your expenses are higher than this. The process involved in this case however is a little more complicated and does require provision of evidence. If you’d like to know more then speak to our friendly team, who will be more than happy to help!

On top of your weekly, flat-rate claim, you can also claim tax relief for any necessary equipment that you’ve had to buy to facilitate your working from home. Similarly, if your employer has paid for your equipment (and it’s not for private use) you can avoid any benefit-in-kind tax too. Find out if you can claim on the HMRC website here.

If you’d like to know more, or have any questions, please give us a call on 01889 577757 or email us at enquiries@accountinginsight.co.uk.