By Aine McGlinchey
People working from home because of Covid-19 can claim tax relief for additional household costs and will not have to provide evidence to claim this. As the scheme has now been extended until the new tax year 2021/22, employees can claim two years tax relief up to £280.
The tax relief is available to anyone who has had to work from home due to the pandemic and has had extra expenses like heating and electricity while spending more time at home.
People who are eligible can have £6 a week of their current salary tax free, which is the maximum without having to provide evidence.
This equates to £1.20 for those in the 20% tax bracket (£62.40 per year). Those with a higher tax rate of 40% will get £2.40 (£124.80 per year). For the 45% tax rate it is £2.70 per week (£140.40 per year).
If people have costs over £6 per week they can claim more, however, evidence of the extra costs will have to be provided.
Jacquline Ward is a nurse and occupational therapist working for News UK in London and has ‘Been encouraged’ to claim the money from work.
“It was sent out to us through work, so I only know of three or four that I have spoken to who have claimed it. But I’m sure most people have where I work.
“They have sent it out at work for everyone to claim it. In fact I might just go in and claim it now. You don’t get the money, it’s just taken off your tax.
“I do like working from home, but I also like going in and seeing people. All the time it’s boring, so I would like a mix.”
As a lot of people have been working from home for a full year now so it’s a big transition as people now start to go back to work.
Santander Strabane branch Manager, Martina Ward has talked about the pros and cons of being an employer during the pandemic, saying ‘It’s good for the employer.’
“When working from home the employer does not have the same responsibility. When in the office there’s a lot more accountability, with health and safety, with insurance, and when working from home it takes it all away from us which is brilliant!
“If someone fell here, I would have to do an accident book and record everything so I would be a big advocate for letting people work from home.
“However I don’t think it’s great for a lot of people’s mental health. Some employees I know couldn’t motivate themselves. So if you’re not interacting with people, you’re very much on your own.
“If you’re at home you’re losing the personal contact.
“There’s mornings I think I can’t be bothered going in, but when I come in I feel fine and you start talking to people and the day fly’s in.
“To me there’s a lot of pluses to it but there’s also a lot of negatives in my opinion – for exercise, mental health, for talking to people, taking your mind off yourself – it definitely helps.
“You have so much more support in the branch and you’re actually looked after better. If you’re working you have to be a highly organised person so you can get up in the morning.”
Go to https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home to claim the tax relief.