By Edward Newman, CEO of Finance.co.uk. Last updated 11th April 2023.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw a huge shift in worker’s relationships with the office, and working from home gradually became the norm with office workers, even after the stay at home orders were lifted.
Because of this, the government introduced new rules around tax relief and working from home.
If you work from home for some or all of the week, you may be able to claim tax relief for additional costs you incur from being at home more frequently.
You can claim tax relief in the current tax year (April 6th 2023 - April 5th 2024) if you need to work from home if:
With the new rules you cannot claim if you choose to work from home, for example:
You can use the Gov.uk website to check if you’re eligible to claim working-from-home tax relief.
You can receive tax relief on:
You will receive WFH tax relief based on your tax band, so the £6 a week equates to:
Working from home tax relief is designed to ease the burden of the extra costs you incur because you have to work from home. This means you can only claim for things to do with your work. This could be for business phone calls heating the area you’re working in.
You can’t claim tax relief for things you use for both personal and business use or where you haven’t incurred extra cost; for example, your rent or mortgage pays for both where you live and work, but working from home won’t have caused this to increase.
If you’re still unsure if you’re eligible, check the government website.
There are two ways you can receive working-from-home tax relief.
If you’re making a backdated claim, you’ll receive the tax relief as a lump sum payment from HMRC, like a tax rebate.
If, however, you’re claiming for the current tax year, your tax code will change, and you will simply pay less tax on your wages.
Remember, if the tax relief on the flat rate of £6 a week doesn’t come close to covering the increase in your expenses, you can claim additional tax relief, but you will need evidence of the extra costs you’ve incurred.
WFH tax relief has been around since 2003, but the rules changed temporarily during the pandemic, as millions of people were forced to stay home.
Because of the stay at home orders, you no longer had to prove that you worked from home regularly, and you could claim tax relief on £6 a week (where previously it was £4).
Many of the rules have shifted back since the stay at home orders have been lifted, which means eligibility will be stricter for the current and future tax years.
However, you can still make backdated claims for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 tax years, and you’ll need to meet the following criteria to do so:
HMRC has said they will continue to accept backdated claims, and taxpayers will receive a lump sum payment for a successful claim. You have until the 5th of April 2025 to make claims for the 2020-2021 tax year and the 5th of April 2026 for claims for the 2021-2022 tax year.
If you’re making a backdated claim for the first year of the pandemic (2020/2021), you can also claim for the two weeks before the start of the tax year, because this was when the lockdown started.
If you want to make a claim, you can use the HMRC portal; if you pay tax via Self-Assessment, you’ll need to claim on your tax return.
If you’re not able to claim the WFH tax relief, there are other forms of tax relief available you might want to explore for job expenses, such as vehicles you use for work, uniforms and work clothing, specialist equipment or professional fees and subscriptions.
You can find out more on the government website.
The information provided does not constitute financial advice, it’s always important to do your own research to ensure a financial product is right for your circumstances. If you’re unsure you should contact an independent financial advisor.