Today we enter the latest relaxation of lockdown. The sun is out and, should you choose, you can go and have a drink in a pub garden. Non-essential shops are opening again. I’ve even got a long-overdue haircut booked for later in the week. That said, large numbers of us are still following advice to work from home. If you’re one of them, you will want to know about HMRC’s working from home relief. If you’re eligible, you can now claim it for the current tax year – and for last year, if you haven’t already done so.
What is the working from home relief?
Many self-employed people have long been used to claiming simplified expenses for working from home. Rather than spending hours calculating what proportions of things like utility bills are for personal or business use, they can claim a flat rate of between £10 and £26 per month.
However, when we first entered lockdown just over a year ago, a large number of employed people suddenly found that they also had to work from home. In response, the government introduced a special working from home tax relief.
The really good thing about this relief is that you can claim it even if you’ve had to work from home for a single day due to the pandemic. All you have to do is declare that you’ve incurred additional costs – such as heating, business calls or metered water – because you’ve had to work from home. However, please note that you can’t claim the relief if you choose to work from home.
How much can I claim?
You can claim tax relief on £6 per week without keeping any evidence of your extra costs. If you incur higher costs, you can claim these – but you need to keep detailed evidence such as bills and receipts.
Most people claim relief on the flat rate of £6. If you are a basic rate taxpayer, you’ll get 20% tax relief on this sum – i.e. £1.20 per week. Higher rate taxpayers would get £2.40 in tax relief per week. These sums add up to about £62 per year for basic rate taxpayers and £124 per week for those on the higher rate.
How can I claim the working from home relief?
If you already complete a Self-Assessment Tax Return, you will need to claim the relief using this.
However, if you are an employee who doesn’t need to file a tax return, you can claim the tax relief online. It’s worth remembering that you can claim for both the last tax year and this one, if you haven’t done so already.
Claiming the working from home relief online is pretty straightforward. However, if you need to claim it via a Self-Assessment Tax Return, you may need a little help. If you’re a THP client, simply get in touch with your account manager for any advice you need.
About Ben Locker
Ben Locker is a copywriter who specialises in business-to-business marketing, writing about everything from software and accountancy to construction and power tools. He co-founded the Professional Copywriters’ Network, the UK’s association for commercial writers, and is named in Direct Marketing Association research as ‘one of the copywriters who copywriters rate’.