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Tax relief: How to claim for job expenses as firms adopt permanent working from home plans

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Working from home was forced upon many workers as the coronavirus pandemic emerged. Entire industries had to learn to adapt as lockdown rules were implemented and it became apparent that not only could some of them cope with a new reality, they could even operate more effectively as a result.

Indeed, according to the latest Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey from the ONS, nearly a fifth (19 percent) of businesses intend to use increased home working as a permanent business model in the future.

These findings were corroborated by Pam Hamilton, the MD of the business consultancy Paraffin, who detailed: “It’s increasingly clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the mind-set of many businesses forever.

“The fact that one in five businesses is now planning to switch permanently to a home working model is nothing short of an economic revolution.

“Businesses are increasingly waking up to the fact that home working doesn’t just lower their overheads but also drives up productivity.

“Staff working from home feel more energised due to the lack of commute and spend less time chatting away idly at the water cooler.

“They also prefer the work-life balance it provides.

“The other revolution businesses are experiencing is the fact that staff can be trusted to work remotely and do not spend the whole day watching Netflix.

“We are increasingly seeing bosses hiring people they trust completely to work from home. People are asking themselves if they don’t trust them to work from home, why hire them in the first place?”

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With the likelihood of employees having to work from home increasing, the need for support and reliefs is also set to rise.

Fortunately, workers may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs if they have to work at home on a regular basis, either for all or part of the week.

This includes if you have to work from home because of coronavirus.

It should be noted this tax relief cannot be claimed if people choose to work from home.

These additional costs can include things like heating, water bills, home contents insurance or new broadband plans.

They will not include costs that would remain the same whether the person was working at home or not, such as mortgage interest, rent or council tax.

Tax relief may also be claimed on certain equipment bought that’s needed for day to day working.

Examples can include laptops, chairs or mobile phones.

As it stands, workers will be able to claim tax relief on:

  • £6 a week from April 6 2020 (for previous tax years the rate is £4 a week). Workers will not need to keep evidence of their extra costs.
  • the exact amount of extra costs they’ve incurred above the weekly amount – they’ll need evidence such as receipts, bills or contracts

The tax relief will be based on the rate at which the person pays tax.

So, as an example, if a person pays the basic rate of tax of 20 percent and they claim tax relief on £6 week, they would get £1.20 per week in tax relief (20 percent of £6).

To claim the relief, workers will need to head to the government’s website.

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