Relief for homeworking

Dec 6, 2021 | Business support hub, Payroll

The COP26 held in Glasgow in November 2021 was a critical moment in the global fight against climate change. The Scottish Government’s own commitment to reduce climate change is a policy of net zero carbon by 2045.
The long-term impact of COVID-19 is uncertain, but statistics suggest that there has been a shift to homeworking at least in some professions. And with new variants stalling the recovery, many businesses have had to re-evaluate agile working policies, at least in the short term. The Office for National Statistics’ research on homeworking found that 44% of Scotland’s workforce were working from home in April 2021 compared to 4% in 2019. Furthermore, Transport Scotland found that 48% of people agree that they will work from home more often in the future.
The tax policies determining relief for homeworking are long established for both the employed and self-employed but there have been several changes for employees during the pandemic. In particular:
• Employers can pay, or employees can claim, a home working allowance of £6 per week or £26 per month tax and NI free.
• It is still acceptable for an employee to claim the full amount even if there is a mix of home and office working.
• There is no adjustment needed for part-time staff either.
• If not reimbursed by the employer, the employee can claim tax relief from HMRC (there is a new online homeworking claim service from HMRC to ease this process).
•  There is no benefit in kind on using company equipment at home.
•  If an employee buys their own equipment, they can currently be fully reimbursed as expenses tax and NI free until 5th April 2022.
•  Where an employee is working from home and has a company car, for a car benefit not to arise the employee must return the keys for at least 30 days, so that the car is not available.
•  The cost of Covid antigen tests is tax and NI free until 5th April 2022 if provided by the employer (not antibody tests to see if you have immunity).
•  The lack of qualifying work journeys for the cycle to work scheme is ignored until 5th April 2022 as long as the employee was a scheme member on or before 20th December 2020.
•  Lastly, office parties including Christmas parties can be held remotely but the exempt cost is still limited to £150 per employee per annum.
Future Government policy as regards homeworking is likely to be less generous and there will be more types of tax associated with the daily commute including the introduction of a workplace parking levy by the Scottish Government. If you need further information on this subject, please contact Thomson Cooper at info@thomsoncooper.com or call 01383 628800.

 

Thomson Cooper cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided and independent professional advice should always be sought before acting. Thomson Cooper does not make any representations or warranties, express or implied as to the accuracy, completeness or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information forming any part of this article or its fitness or suitability for a particular purpose or use.

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