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Claiming tax relief for home office expenses

In the past, claims for the costs of home office furniture and other equipment has been difficult to obtain unless your employer dictates that you must work from home.

With the advent of lock-down and working from home now mandated for a large proportion of the working population, HMRC are being inundated with claims.

Employees that are covering their own home working costs

  1. Consumable items, printer cartridges for example, can be claimed as an expense.
  2. If you buy equipment to enable homeworking, desk, chair, shelving, computers etc., as long as the purchase was required to facilitate home-working, you should be able to write off the full cost by claiming a capital allowance.
  3. You can also claim £6 a week from 6 April 2020 (£4 per week 2019-20) to offset additional electricity costs or other costs you have had to pay as a direct result of working from home.

All of the above claims will be reduced if your employer makes a full or partial contribution towards these costs.

Employers that are covering employees’ home working costs

Employers that provide equipment, services and supplies to an employee who works from home, do not have to report or pay any tax or NIC if the items provided are only used for business purposes or any private use is insignificant.

Historically, employers that cover the cost of additional household expenses for an employee who works from home, did not have to report these or pay anything if both the following apply:

  • employees need to work from home, either because equipment they need is not available at your workplace, or their work means they have to live too far away from your workplace to travel there every day or
  • the amount you give them is not more than their additional household expenses.

It is assumed that the first of these two conditions is now fulfilled by the needs of the COVID-19 lock-down.

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