If you’re not a fan of shoving your face into several hundred strangers' open mouths on public transport every morning, then working from home during the coronavirus pandemic has probably had its benefits.
One of the benefits you might not have known about? You’re entitled to claim a bit of money for toiling away in your house rather than the office.
It’s actually always been a part of UK law that, if your employer requires you to work from home for any reason, you’re able to get some money back. This is because while your employer might previously have paid to keep you warm during the winter, you’re now slamming the heating on at 9AM every morning and running up your bills.
So: how much do you get?
You can claim tax relief of £6 a week, per person. If there are numerous people in your house – as is the case for pretty much every young person – you can all claim. This tax relief is then deducted from your taxable income, meaning it’s less of a personal pay-out and more like less money being taxed through your monthly salary. Still: it’s pretty good for fans of free money, considering all you need to do is press a few buttons.
How do you get working from home tax relief?
HMRC has set up a dedicated micro-site to claim. All you need to do is head here.
– You’re then asked whether you complete a yearly self assessment form where you do your own taxes (if you’re a freelancer, this is likely you) or not. If you’re on self assessment, this tax relief can be applied when you complete your 2020/21 tax return.
– If you’re not on self assessment, you’ll be asked if your employer has already paid for your working from home expenses. If they haven’t, then you’re able to claim online by following further steps on the site.
Unlike in previous years, if you’ve been working from home since the start of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, you’ll likely to be able apply for tax relief for the whole year. Also, it doesn’t matter if you’re part time or full time – anyone who has been working from home during COVID-19 can claim. But it’s worth saying, again, that this money doesn’t “land” in your bank account, as people might have said in your group Whatsapp thread. Also, tax relief on £6 per week amounts to £1.20 per working day, so it’s not exactly a life-changing sum.
Still, applying for the tax relief does adjust your tax code, meaning you pay slightly less tax over the year overall – so it’s definitely worth doing if you’re of the mindset that every extra penny counts. In this case, that’s a total of £62.40 off your yearly tax bill for lower rate payers, and £124.80 for those paying the higher rate.