Published: 08/12/2020

COVID-19 Claim back expenses

Get a bit back from the taxman

Since early in the year, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in many of us having to work from home. No doubt you realise that working from home increases some of your household bills. 

There is some good news though that you may be able to claim back tax on some of these costs. Working from home, means many of us have created home office spaces. Quiet corners, spare rooms, the kitchen table and using the ironing board as a fold away desk! The three-tier system means that some of us could spend even more time at home in the coming months. 

Some expenses will have reduced such as travel costs, buying lunch and the daily latte, but it can result in an increase in household expenses like the heating being on longer, now we are heading into winter.

However, you may be able to claim back money for these expenses.

To be able to claim:

Your employer must have made you work from home, in accordance with government instruction - if you’re working there by choice, you won’t be eligible to claim.

Normal costs, like rent, you would pay anyway can’t be claimed but, you can claim for increases in utility bills, due to being at home more.

The big question - How much can I claim?

The government has stipulated so that everyone doesn’t have to keep receipts and evidence, that you can claim up to £6 of expenses per week without that. This was worked out as an average.

You may be able to claim more than this if you’re sure your costs have been higher, but for this option, you will need to provide evidence and receipts.

Making a claim:

According to MoneySavingExpert, there are two ways to claim:

  • You can ask to claim up to £6 per week through your employer, tax-free, or
  • Claim tax relief on the £6 per week through it’s worth noting this will be the tax on the amount, that amounts to £1.20 at the normal rate, or £2.40 per week for higher rate tax payers and will be deducted from your taxable income.

It might not sound like a lot but it adds up to between £62 and £124 over a year.

It’s up to you how you choose to apply or if you do.  It’s certainly worth talking to your employer and asking about claiming the expenses. Remember that their own financial situation may drive the response, so that rather than them dealing with it directly, you will have to claim via HMRC. You can also claim retrospectively for any costs you may have already incurred.

Remember, if you’re claiming the average amount you do not need to provide receipts or evidence, but if you want to claim anything more than this you will need to provide proof of any additional expenses you have had to meet.

Last updated: 22/12/2020