During the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020/21 we all got used to a new, often enforced, way of working. Many of us left our offices and were obliged to work from home (WFH), potentially incurring costs we have not had to before. This has been recognised by HMRC and you may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs.
This may seem a lifetime ago now and many people will already have made use of this allowance but with the self-assessment season firmly underway now is the time to check if you have taken advantage of this allowance and, if not, to add it to your tax return.
Can anyone claim?
This particular allowance is aimed at those who are employed and being paid via PAYE schemes rather than the self-employed (for help if you are self-employed contact your local MFW office).
Are there any conditions?
The key issue here is that working from home must not have been a choice or your normal working condition. If you have always worked from home then you will not be able to make a claim, for most of us working from home during the COVID pandemic was not a choice and in this case a claim can be made.
It is also important to check if you have already been given this allowance via your employer, some employers chose to pay the working from home allowance and in this case you would not be able to claim.
What can I claim?
There are two options here, HMRC will allow a claim of £6 a week without the need to provide evidence of any extra costs or you are able to claim the exact amount of extra costs you’ve incurred above the weekly £6 amount but here you’ll need evidence such as receipts, bills or contracts
What’s it worth to me?
You’ll get tax relief based on the rate at which you pay tax. For example, if you pay the 40% higher rate of tax and claim tax relief on £6 a week you would get £2.40 per week in tax relief which would be worth £124.80 over the year.
How do I claim?
This can be done either as a deduction from earnings via your self-assessment tax return or via the government gateway.
It is important to note that HMRC has confirmed that the £6 per week is available in full, even if an employee splits their time between home and office. In other words the allowance does not need to be pro-rated over the number of days spent each week at home and in the office.