With 47% of employees having worked from home in 2020, there’s a good chance you’re able to claim between £62 and £140 in tax relief.
If you’ve been required to work at home at all in the last year then you are eligible to get back some of the tax you’ve paid. You can do this for the whole 12 months even if there was only one day where this happened!
It’s also really easy to do thanks to a microsite set up by HMRC to process it for the 2020/21 tax year.
Most people are looking at receiving £62.40, though those who pay a higher rate of tax will be doubling that. A handful will be able to get £140.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about who can claim and how to do it, or watch this video with a step by step guide to applying..
What is working from home tax relief?
The logic behind this is you will have incurred extra household expenses while at home – from heating to insurance.
Who can claim?
Normally you can only claim for the weeks you’ve actually had to work from home. But that’s different for this last year.
You only need to have been required to work from home for one day since March 23rd 2020 (when lockdown began) to get the rebate for the entire 2020/21 year.
However, if your employer has already covered extra expenses you aren’t eligible. Also, you shouldn’t claim if you have chosen to work at home.
How much can you claim
The tax relief is dependent on a few things – largely what you are claiming for and the rate of tax you pay on your income.
You can work out exactly how much extra you’ve spent on permitted expenses to claim the exact amount of tax back, but you do need to have receipts or proof of the extra costs.
What’s probably easiest for most people is to go with the set allowance. For the financial year 2020-21 (April 6th 2020 to April 5th 2021), it’s set at £6 a week. For previous tax years the rate is £4.
It doesn’t mean you’ll get £6 back for every week. Instead you’ll get the tax back on that £6, which works out as follows:
- Basic rate taxpayers (charged 20% tax on most of your income) will get 20% of £6 back – a total of £1.20 a week. That’s 62.40 a year.
- Higher rate taxpayers (40%) will get double that at £2.40 a week. That’s £124.80 a year
- Additional rate taxpayers (45%) will get a little more at £2.70 a week, and £140.40 a year.
How will you get the money?
You receive the money as a lump sum to your account or as a cheque. Instead, your tax code will be altered to accommodate this extra allowance. So essentially claiming really this means you’ll pay less tax each month.
How to make a claim
To make things easier there’s a government microsite most people can use. This uses the set £6 weekly allowance.
However this shortcut is only for those who don’t already fill in a self-assessment form. Those people will have to wait until they fill that in for that full tax year once it ends.
You can also claim for previous years but only for the days you were at home, and not via the microsite.
You’ll be asked:
- Are you only claiming tax relief on your expenses for working from home? (Answer “Yes”)
- Do you complete Self Assessment returns? (Answer “No”)
- Has your employer paid your expenses for working from home? (Answer “No”)
- Did you start working from home because of coronavirus (COVID-19)? (Answer “Yes”)
To make the claim you need a government gateway ID and password. This should take 10 minutes online. You’ll need your National Insurance number and either a payslip/P60 or your passport.
Once you have this you simply log in and follow the instructions. Don’t forget to claim from 23rd March 2020 if you were working from home then too.
What about 2021/22?
At the moment it looks like enforced home working will continue into the next tax year, so you’ll be able to claim again for time spent at home. But whether this will cover the entire year and if you can use the microsite is something we’ll have to wait to find out.