One unexpected bonus for staff forced to work from home because of the pandemic has been a £6 per week tax break.
People will have seen their household bills naturally go up over the last year, from increased working at home and the Government has recognised this.
These working life changes are driven by the pandemic, which has seen many firms having to close workplaces, sometimes several times, meaning millions of UK staff have been required to work from home temporarily, even if just for part of the week.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has confirmed that claims from employees working at home due to Coronavirus measures, if their usual workplace is closed, count for this relief and that staff can now claim the Government’s working from home allowance for the 2021/22 tax year.
This gives workers the £6 per week allowance to cover home working costs and can be applied for at any time after the new tax year started in April.
HMRC has confirmed that employed workers can now claim the working from home allowance, even where they have worked at home for just one day because of the Coronavirus restrictions.
If they have not claimed for last year as well, then two claims are allowable.
The £6 per week working from home allowance is worth £62 for basic rate (20 per cent) taxpayers; £125 for higher rate (40 per cent) taxpayers and £140 for additional rate (45 per cent) taxpayers for the 2021/22 tax year.
HMRC relaxed the rules last year on who is eligible to claim the working from home allowance.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic, a worker could only claim the allowance in limited circumstances, where their employer required them to work at home and for that specific period only.
HMRC’s microservice site was already up and running so it makes sense for them to extend the system for this tax year.
HMRC is also likely to be wary of people making standalone claims for working at home this tax year, and the additional time and cost it would take to process these, so it makes sense from their perspective to simply let the system run for another year.
Those that have not claimed their allowance for the 2020/21 tax year can do this at the same time as claiming the current tax year.