How you could claim nearly £300 tax back for working from home

How you could claim tax relief for working from home during the pandemic.

How you could claim tax relief for working from home during the pandemic. - Credit: PA

Since so many of us have been working from home during the Covid pandemic we have racked up extra expenses.

Boiling the kettle. Putting the heating on for a little bit longer. Even just keeping the lights on during the day. It all adds up.

But there is a way to claim back as much as £140 per year to reimburse you for the costs.

Sally Farrow, private client partner at East Anglian accountancy firm Larking Gowen, explains how to claim the cash.  

How much can I claim?


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If you have had to work from home for even one day because of the pandemic you can claim tax relief on a flat rate of £6 for every week of the year.

And this now applies for the 2021/22 tax year as well as 2020/21.

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Ms Farrow said the actual amount a person could expect to receive depended on how much tax you pay.

She explained: "It depends on the rate at which you pay tax but if you qualify, you get £6 tax relief for each week of the tax year (regardless of the length of time you were working from home) meaning that for most the saving is £62.40 or £124.80 p.a."

It is possible to claim tax relief on more than £6 per week, but you would have to prove to HMRC that you have incurred expenses of greater than £6.

How can I claim it back?

There are several ways that you can put your claim in, according to Ms Farrow.

"If you don’t have to submit a self assessment tax return, the easiest way is to use HMRC’s online claims microservice

"You will need a government gateway user ID and password but it’s relatively easy to obtain there and then if you haven’t got one already.

"If you do complete a self-assessment return, then you would need to include your claim in that instead."

 Ms Farrow added, you do not need to prove that you have been working from home.

She said: "HMRC accept that many employees have been asked by their employers to  work from home as a result of a temporary closure of the workplace, restrictions in access etc due to the pandemic. 

"Obviously however, HMRC could enquire into a claim at a later date if they thought it had been made improperly. Remember, also that to qualify you you must have additional costs, such as heating, metered water bills or business calls, that are incurred as a direct result of being required to work from home. You won’t however be asked to provide evidence of those bills if your claim is no more than £6 per week. 

How long does the application take?

The claims process is relatively simple.

Ms Farrow said: "HMRC accept that many employees have been asked by their employers to  work from home as a result of a temporary closure of the workplace, restrictions in access etc due to the pandemic.  

Using the online claims microservice you can make your claim within 10 minutes — including creating your government gateway ID and rooting around in the drawer for your passport or a payslip. 

The application asks for two forms of identification, your national insurance number and will then ask you for the first date that you worked from home.

Once it has been completed you will then be notified that your tax code has been changed.

How will this cash be paid?

It depends on when you make your claim.

Ms Farrow explains: "If you claim now for 2021/22, your PAYE code will be adjusted. If you make a claim for last tax year (2020/21) you should be able to get a repayment (assuming you don’t otherwise owe HMRC)."

This repayment will take the form of a bank transfer or a cheque.

Does my employer need to support my claim?

An employer does not need to do support your claim.

But an employer can also choose whether they wish to reimburse employees for costs they incur by working from home.

Ms Farrow said: "It’s up to an employer whether they choose to reimburse employees for additional costs of working from home, which if they do, may then be exempted from tax (assuming the relevant conditions are met).

"Claiming from HMRC merely covers the situation where the employee is still incurring costs but the employer is not reimbursing them.

"You don’t get back as much this way as if the employer reimbursed you the full £6 but many employers may think that the additional utility costs of working from home are more than offset by savings elsewhere e.g. commuting costs."

How many people can do this per household?

Ms Farrow said the tax relief was per employee, so it would be possible for two or more people within one household to claim it.

However she emphasised people should only do so if they had each incurred additional costs.

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