Working from home tax relief: HMRC rule change is ‘much stricter’ – can you still claim?

Money Box explains rules for working from home tax relief

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With a new tax year underway, the criteria people need to fulfil to claim tax relief from working from home has changed. On BBC Money Box, reporter Dan Whitworth explained to a listener whether she will be eligible or not.

Alice emailed into Money Box last weekend to ask if she can claim tax relief if she works at home.

She said: “My employer expects me to work from home several days of the week and only rotas me in one day a week.

“But this doesn’t quite fit the criteria to claim.”

The working from home tax relief rules have changed in the new tax year.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have seen the way they work change with daily commutes to the office now a thing of the past.

In the past two years, if someone worked at home at least one day of the tax year, they could claim some tax back for the whole year.

Mr Whitworth said: “This was worth £62.40 off your tax in each year. If you pay higher rate tax, it’s worth double that.

“The good news is if you’ve not claimed it already, you can still claim it now for those two years.”

However new rules could mean some people are no longer entitled to the tax relief.

HMRC has now issued a warning to people that the rules have recently changed and it could result in a prosecution if someone breaks them.

From April 6, 2022 people can no longer claim tax relief if they choose to work from home.

Mr Whitworth continued: “This is when it gets much stricter.

“From this tax year – 2022/2023 – HMRC tells us you’re only eligible if you are a homeworker with no facilities available for you to work from your employers premises.

“If your employer has facilities that would enable you to work at their premises but offers something like hybrid working, then you are not eligible.

“So in Alice’s case, she is forced to work from home so she may be eligible so she should definitely apply.”

People can claim for past tax years, or this current one via the Government’s website.

While working from home has been a welcome change for many, it also led to rising household costs due to extra expenditure on heating and electricity.

With bills now surging even faster amid the cost of living crisis, this has put an extra squeeze on workers at a time when pre-pandemic they would be out of the house and in an office.

Government tax relief has been available for those working from home, even if that is only for some of the time. However, Britons are warned of new rules.

New guidance on GOV.UK states: “You can claim if your employer has not already paid your expenses and you have additional household costs as a result of working from home.”

It continues: “To claim tax relief, you cannot have just chosen to work from home.

“You must ensure you meet the rules for claiming, as you may be prosecuted if you deliberately give incorrect or misleading information.”

To claim for the new tax year 2022/23, one of the following must also apply:

  • There are no appropriate facilities available for them to perform their job on their employer’s premises
  • The nature of the job requires them to live so far from the employer’s premises that it is unreasonable for them to travel to those premises on a daily basis
  • They are required, under government restrictions, to work from home.

What can I claim for?
According to the Government, those who still quality may be able to claim tax relief for:

  • Gas and electricity
  • Metered water
  • Business phone calls, including dial-up internet access

People cannot claim for the whole bill, just the part that relates to their work.

Money Box is available on BBC Sounds.

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