Employees who work from home may be able to claim tax relief for bills they pay that are related to their work.
Employers may reimburse employees for the additional household expenses incurred through regularly working at home. The relief covers expenses such as business telephone calls or heating and lighting costs. Expenses that cover private and business use (such as broadband) cannot be claimed. Employees may also be able to claim tax relief on equipment they have bought, such as a laptop, chair or mobile phone.
Employers can pay up to £6 per week (or £26 a month for employees paid monthly) to cover an employee’s additional costs if they have to work from home. Employees do not need to keep any specific records if they receive this fixed amount.
If the expenses or allowances are not paid by the employer, then the employee can claim tax relief directly from HMRC. Employees will receive tax relief based on their highest tax rate. For example, if they pay the 20% basic rate of tax and claim tax relief on £6 a week, they will receive £1.20 per week in tax relief (20% of £6). Employees can claim more than the quoted amount but will need to provide evidence to HMRC. HMRC will accept backdated claims for up to 4 years.
Employees may also be able to claim tax relief for using their own vehicle, be it a car, van, motorcycle or bike. As a general rule, there is no tax relief for ordinary commuting to and from the place of work. The rules are different for temporary workplaces where the expense is usually allowable or if an employee uses their own vehicle to undertake other business-related mileage.
Note, that if an employee agreed with their employer to work at home voluntarily, or they choose to work at home, they cannot claim tax relief on the bills they have to pay. If an employee previously claimed tax relief when they worked from home because of coronavirus (COVID-19), they might no longer be eligible for relief.