When I first became a remote/home worker my mother kept going on about how I’d be able to get tax relief on certain things. I didn’t really take much notice of her until I had a free moment just before Christmas and did a little search on it. It turns out she was right (aren’t mothers always!) and home workers can get tax relief for household expenses. This includes:
- the extra cost of gas and electricity to heat and light your work area
- business telephone calls
As is probably the case for most home workers my work already refunds all my business calls, I just hand in a copy of my bill with the relevant bits highlighted. However I have been using quite a lot of extra heating (see my entries on Wifi Worries and On the Sunny Side of the Street) and electricity so thought I’d have a go at claiming.
The HM Revenue and Customs Web site explains that you can get either:
- A flat rate deduction of £3.00 per week (from 2008-09) for each week that you’ve got to work at home. This doesn’t include the cost of business telephone calls.
- A larger amount if your extra expenses are higher than £3.00 – but you’ll have to show how you’ve calculated the figure.
The flat rate can be applied for by letter and doesn’t require any extra proof (expenses forms etc.). It seemed fairly straightforward. I found out my local tax office using the online tax office locator and wrote them a letter explaining my situation and including my national insurance number, my tax code (found on my monthly pay slip) and my payroll reference number (also on my payslip).
I’ve just received a letter back from HMRC explaining that they have changed my tax code and upped my tax free allowance. I’m a little unsure of the numbers and wouldn’t mind having someone in the know explain it to me but I do seem to be getting more pennies for the pound. I have yet to see the effect on my pay packet but at the moment when every penny counts it’s surely worth the price of a stamp.
Are other remote workers claiming this?