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COVID-19: Claiming working-from-home relief

COVID-19: Claiming working-from-home relief

Tim Woodgates

You can claim tax relief for the whole year, worth £60 or £125 depending on your tax band even if you have only had to work from home for just one day.

Normally, you would only be able to claim working-from-home tax relief for weeks when you have been required to work from home. However, in recognition of the unique situation this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, HMRC has changed the rules so that you can now apply for tax relief for the whole of the tax year, even if you have only worked partially from home, or if you return to your workplace before 6 April 2021.

HMRC says “We recognise that the working from home situation is very fluid this year and so we’re accepting claims for the full year’s expenses, even if people have only worked from home for some of the year. This includes customers claiming through Self-Assessment.”

If you have had to work from home at all this year (since 6 April 2020 onwards), we recommend that you make a claim as soon as possible – you do not need to wait until the end of the tax year to claim for the full year.

What can I claim if I must work from home?
If your employer requires you to work from home, even if it’s just for part of the week, you can claim for increased costs due to working from home, e.g. heating and electricity.  Your employer can either pay you a flat rate of £6 a week extra tax free, or, if they’re unable to do this,  you can claim tax relief on £6 a week which equates to a gain of £1.20 per week (£62.40 per year) for a basic 20% rate taxpayer or £2.40 per week (£124.80 per year) for a higher 40% rate taxpayer.

You won’t need to keep receipts for this or prove information to claim this.

If you think your increased costs are greater than £6 per week then you can claim more, but you will need to provide evidence of the cost increases and be able to apportion these to the fact you are working from home.

Who can make a claim?
You can claim even if you only work from home part-time, or if others are still going into your workplace.  
If more than one person is working from home at the same property, each person can claim it.

You cannot claim tax relief on the costs of working from home however if your employer has paid you an allowance to cover your working from home expenses.

How to claim
Claims must be made via your Government Gateway account (if you don’t have one you can create one as part of the process).  The relief will be applied to your monthly pay.

If you are employed but do your tax via Self-Assessment each year you should claim the allowance as part of your Self-Assessment return.

If you’ve already made a claim this year for the weeks you’ve already worked from home, you can still claim working from home allowance for the rest of the year (even if you’re no longer working from home) by filling in another P87 form, clearly stating the amount for the year as the maximum £312 (£6 x £52 weeks).

If you need further advice, please contact your local Moore office.