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.
You can also see the railway lines snaking through the city centre, cars nipping around the ring road, and the comparatively small apartment blocks around Castlefield.
Commenting on the video, one person said: “This is mint.”
Another wrote: “Fricken love this!!!!”
Featured image: @lef_tsotour
Question Time audience stunned as first-time buyer says mortgage quote DOUBLED
Thursday night’s Question Time audience could be heard audibly gasping after a fellow crowd member revealed that her mortgage quote had doubled followed the recent mini-budget.
Taping in Manchester on 29 September, the current events and politics programme was discussing property when would-be first-time buyer Rabia revealed that her mortgage offer had jumped from an initial amount of 4.5% interest to a shocking 10.5% in just a matter of days.
As you can see in the incredible clip, both the audience and the panel are taken aback at the revelation.
The Greater Manchester resident said she is desperate to know what the government’s plan for mortgages is as following the latest revision, she says she simply cannot afford to put the money down on her first home.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed in on the social media reaction, quote tweeting the clip from his party’s own account and stating that “the Tories must get back to Parliament and reverse their kamikaze budget” as the current economic mess is being “paid for by working people”.
To make matters worse, Rabia was given no clarification from her lenders, only that they were pulling her offers. Conservative MP and Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Paul Scully had little information to offer her either, simply stating it is a short-term effect and that the market will stabilise.
Scully was subject to an entirely different reaction from the audience as well after his blind attempts to defend Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were met with laughter. Conversely, Richard Bacon was met with applause after he labelled the mini-budget “absurd”.
As if the anti-Tory sentiment wasn’t already at a high, the chancellor’s mini-budget – which saw the corporations, bankers and the generally wealthy benefit ahead of the working class – has seen fresh calls for a general election to be held as soon as possible.
Beyond declaring a so-called £2,500 limit on energy bills (which many have warned isn’t a guaranteed cap), there was seemingly very little in the way of policy that
For those still unclear as to what was announced in the divisive mini-budget, here is a quick summary:
Speaking in a speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Starmer said that the government “haven’t just failed to fix the roof, they’ve ripped out the foundations, smashed the windows and now they’ve blown the doors off for good measure.