Nicola Hawksley of Peterborough accountant GreenStones confirmed that employees working in offices that have been closed due to the pandemic have a few different options for relieving some of the extra costs that working from home might create.
An employer can pay an amount to cover the extra expense of working from home - the light, gas, electricity - at a maximum of £6 per week from April 6 (£4 per week prior to this). If the employer agrees, it's as simple as them paying it; there's no tax or national insurance. Employers are not obliged to pay this, however, and many choose not to.
Should an employer not want to pay this, a claim can be made for tax relief on the £6 a week.
Filling in a form called P87 is the easiest way for most people to claim this. This will provide a tax relief on that £6 per week, which would add up to just over £60 per year for a basic rate taxpayer.
If an employee is incurring significant extra costs by working from home, they can also claim these back. For example: if working from home requires using a phone a claim can be made for the actual phone bill expense rather than just the £6 a week.
These tax rebates can only be claimed if offices are shut and an employee is required operate from their own home. You cannot claim for things that you use for both private and business use, for example, rent or broadband access.
More details can be found at: gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home. Alternatively, call Nicola Hawksley at GreenStones on 01733 371180.