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How to claim tax back when working from home

Sharon McDougall - Updated - 16th May 2024 - 2 minutes to read

How to claim tax from HMRC for Working From Home in three simple ways?

With so many firms having to close their premises due to coronavirus, the number of people working from home has dramatically increased. If your employer has told you to work from home, whether full time or part time, you can claim a tax rebate for home working expenses. This particular tax rebate doesn’t apply if you’ve chosen to work from home, however.

HMRC has recognised the disruption caused to businesses by coronavirus, and that staffing rotas and requirements frequently change at short notice, which is why you’re eligible to claim even if you only work from home for one day.

It’s not widely known that employed workers can claim tax back in this way when they have to work from home, but you can make a claim in various ways – from your employer, directly from HMRC, or via a self-assessment tax return as an employee.

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How to claim tax back for home working?

Working from home typically incurs extra costs, such as heat and light, work-related phone calls, or printer ink/paper. You can claim £6 a week for these types of expenses as of April 2020 without having to provide evidence of the costs.

If you claim more than £6 per week, HMRC may request to view the relevant invoices or bills to support the claim, so you’ll need to make sure you have them. The tax relief is based on your tax band, so if you’re a basic rate taxpayer (20%) and claimed £6 per week your tax rebate would be £1.20 per week. Higher rate taxpayers (40%) would receive a £2.40 per week rebate.

How to claim your tax rebate when you work from home?

  • You can ask your employer to pay £6 per week tax free to cover the costs of enforced working from home. Your employer isn’t obliged to do so, however, and as businesses are currently struggling due to the pandemic you may decide to make a claim directly from HMRC.
  • HMRC microservice – HMRC has set up a new microservice for claiming tax back in this way. You’ll need a Government Gateway User ID and password to make a claim, and if the claim is successful the tax relief will be applied via your tax code. This means less tax will be deducted from your earnings each month.
  • Self-assessment tax return – if you’re employed but submit a self-assessment tax return, you can claim back tax for working at home as an employee via your tax return.

If you want to use the Government Gateway service but don’t yet have an ID, you can set one up before you claim.

Does this tax rebate apply to self-employed workers?

If you’re self-employed you can claim your work from home expenses as usual through self-assessment. This is a different scheme than the one mentioned above, however, and you won’t be able to claim under the new HMRC microservice unless you’re employed.

As a sole trader you can claim a proportion of your work-related expenses either as a flat rate, which depends on the number of hours you work from home, or as a claim that itemises your expenses. The second option would involve providing reasonable estimates and detailed calculations to HMRC.

If you would like further information on claiming tax back when working from home, Scotland Debt Solutions can help. We’ll let you know whether you’re eligible to make a claim as an employee, and provide reliable, clear advice. Please contact one of the team for a free consultation – we operate offices around the country.

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Sharon McDougall Square

Sharon McDougall

Manager

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