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The government has U-turned again and signalled a winter of working from home. Workers can claim extra expenses for heating and lighting necessary through the darker months
Working dads can claim extra cash in light of the latest government U-turn on working from home.
Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson reversed last month’s advice to get employees back to the office. Now he wants anyone who can reasonably work from home to do so.
The U-turn means many working dads will be back working in spare rooms or round kitchen tables. And they’ll be hunkering down to spend the winter working like that since the PM’s statement suggested the latest coronavirus rules will be in place for at least six months. That will raise questions about what tax breaks and expenses workers are entitled to if they are using more heating and lighting during the day while working from home.
In the spring the government bumped up the amount workers can get to cover extra costs. In the 2020/2021 tax year employers can pay employees an extra £6 per week, or £26 per month, to cover added expenses. If an employer doesn’t want to add it to a workers pay packet they can claim tax relief on the amount by having it deducted from their taxable income. Costs covered by the scheme include heating, lighting and work phone calls. The first two categories are likely to come increasingly to the fore as the latest government statement took place on the autumn equinox – the date on which there are fewer hours of daylight than dark.
Costs that include private use – such as broadband – are not covered.
However employees do not need to keep any records, or provide bills, to get the extra payments. If an employee wants to claim more than the flat rate for heating or lighting then they will need to show their bills and justify the extra.
To get the tax relief employees must fill out a P87 form and apply online via the relevant government website.
Employers have spent today considering their reaction to the new government guidance. Barclay’s bank immediately scrapped plans to reopen more offices and instructed 1000 workers to revert to working from home.
Working dads have told us that they enjoyed spending more time around their family in the first half of the year. However they also raised concerns that government has done nothing to address such as the mental toll of combining parenting and paid work in the home.