Over the last few months working from home has become the new norm given the current COVID-19 circumstances. As well as the flexibility that working from home brings there is the opportunity to claim tax relief for some of the bills you have to pay because you have to work at home on a regular basis. Below are five things you can claim for when working from home.
What are the rules?
It is important to remember that you can only claim for things to do with your work, for example, business telephone calls or the extra cost of gas and electricity for your work area. The government allowance has now risen from £4 to £6 per week which came in from April 6th 2020.
On March 16th 2020 a temporary exception stated that home office expenses do not attract tax and national insurance contribution (NIC) liabilities where reimbursed by an employer. This exemption was designed to support employees who are working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and need to purchase home office equipment.
What can I claim?
Whether you’re working from the dining room table or you have a functional home office your laptop, desktop computer and printer are all going to be integral to you doing your job. If you have paid money for these then you will be able to claim a portion of them back. One thing to point out is that you can even claim for these items before you register as self-employed.
Working from home means that on occasion you might have to work late into the evening and that means using the lights. It is going to be hard to break down exactly how much of the electricity can be attributed to the time spent working but as a rough guide try and work out how much of your time is spent doing business each day and how often you benefit from the electricity.
Your phone bill will be another important aspect of your working life especially if you are going to be communicating with clients or team calls. The easiest way is to expense your work calls by having a separate work phone or even mobile. However, if that is not worth the hassle and you want to stick with your home phone then you are going to have to log all the calls that are of a business nature to work out what you are entitled to claim back.
Finally, there is the car, if you must travel for your business for any reason then you should be able to claim back the travel expenses which include the fuel you use. Most companies will have a scheme where you can claim a percentage of your mileage back for a certain pence per mile.
If you have recently started working from home and are unsure of what you can claim back, more help and info can be found directly at HMRC or you can speak to an accountant.
At Gow & Partners, we have a professional team of experienced accountants who can tell you exactly what you can claim when working from home - get in touch with them here.