Has working from home become part of ‘the new normal’ for you?
Millions of people across the country have had to revert to working from inside their four walls for the past five or so months due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The UK government is now certainly keen for people to begin returning to their places of work this month – with Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham also encouraging a “voluntary” and “safety-led” return – but with many employers not planning to send their staff back into the office until 2021, this could mean that lots face working at home for a few more months.
Working from home has also seen many have to fork out increased costs on things such as energy bills, water and internet, but if this sounds all too familiar to you, you’ll be glad to know that help is available.
HMRC says it will consider claims from employees working at home due to coronavirus (COVID-19) measures if their usual workplace is closed, and Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis has explained this week how you can claim £24 a month tax back on extra costs.
In simple terms, this means you can claim back an extra £6 per week and also means that if you’ve worked from home since March, you could be in line for as much as £144.
According to Martin Lewis, there are two ways to do this:
- Employers can pay you £6/week extra tax-free – Employers can give you an allowance up to this amount and what they give you is free from tax, so you get it all (to give you more, it will need to make special arrangements).
But with many firms struggling right now, asking this may be bad timing, so instead you can:
- Claim tax relief on £6/wk (worth £1.20/wk at 20% tax, £2.40/wk at higher rate) – If your employer won’t pay expenses for your extra costs due to necessary working from home, but you have them, then you can ask for the amount to be deducted from your taxable income.
To make the process easy, HMRC says that claims in line with the employers’ payment (eg: for £6/wk) will not need to justify that figure, meaning you won’t need to keep receipts or prove information, but if you believe you have higher increased costs, then you can claim more, but you will need evidence of the cost increases.
Retrospective claims can also be made.
Speaking further on this, Martin Lewis said: “You claim retrospectively on expenses had, so if you’re only at home due to coronavirus, it’s best to wait until you’re back at work (or a few months anyway) then make the whole claim at once.
“Your tax code will likely be adjusted so you pay less tax over the year, as opposed to you getting a direct refund.”
Once you’ve submitted the claim, you are likely to hear back within a couple of weeks, however it should be noted that with HMRC previously stating it is under pressure amid current circumstances, it may take a little longer than anticipated.
Online tax relief claims can be made via the gov.uk website.
If you would like additional advice on claiming back and the ways in which to do so, you can visit the Money Saving Expert website here.