HMRC Working From Home portal opens

Coronavirus, Personal Tax,

Launched on 1st October, the online portal is designed to be simple to use and has been set up to process tax relief on additional expenses for employees who were told by employers to work from home as a result of COVID-19.

HMRC figures show it received more than 54,800 claims between the 1st and 11th October.

From 6th April 2020, employers have been able to pay employees up to £6 a week tax-free to cover additional costs if they’ve had to work from home. Employees who have not received the working from home (WFH) expenses payment direct from their employer can apply to receive the tax relief from HMRC.

How much can employees claim?

Eligible taxpayers can claim tax relief based on the rate at which they pay tax.

For example, if an employed worker pays the 20% basic rate of tax and claims tax relief on £6 a week, they would receive £1.20 a week in tax relief (20% of £6 a week) while higher rate taxpayers would the receive £2.40 a week (40% of £6 a week).

Over the course of the year, this could mean taxpayers can reduce the tax they pay by £62.40 or £124.80 respectively.

Do employees need to prove their expenses?

Employees do not need to provide evidence to show their bills have increased if they apply for tax relief on costs at the £6 per week flat rate.

If they wish to claim at a higher rate, evidence of the increased costs may be needed.

What do employees need to claim direct?

HMRC is encouraging individuals claiming tax relief for working from home to apply directly via the portal, which can be accessed here.

Agents cannot use the new service to apply for the relief on a client’s behalf, which HMRC says is to ensure individuals receive 100% of the tax relief that is due.

Karl Khan, HMRC’s interim director general of customer services, said: ‘We want everyone to get the money that they are entitled to, so we’ve made the online service as easy to use as we can – it takes just a few minutes to make a claim.’

What happens after a claim is made?

Once the application has been made and approved, the online portal will adjust an individual’s tax code for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

The employee will receive the tax relief directly through their salary and will continue to receive the adjustment until March 2021.