COVID-19 completely shifted the working landscape. Where working from home might once have been just for the odd Friday, now it’s the norm for many people. Some employees have flexible hybrid working arrangements with a bit of office time and some time at home. Others work from home all the time.

If you fall into the second camp, you get all the benefits of Zoom calls in your comfies, dog walks at lunchtime and the flexibility to pick the kids up. On the other hand, your heating bills are probably up and you’re likely forking out for faster broadband. Fortunately you can apply for working from home tax relief and claim a tax rebate for your extra costs, and doing so is a solid strategy to lower your taxable income. Plus, you can backdate it too. Let’s have a look at how you do it:

Understanding working from home tax relief

You can only claim for working from home tax relief in any years where you qualify for it. The government relaxed the rules during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the system was changed after April 6th 2022.

Under the current system, you can only claim for tax relief if you’re:

  • Required to work from home by your employer: You can’t claim if your employer simply offers flexible working and you choose to work from home. It has to be mandated.
  • Based too far away from work to travel there.
  • Prevented from working away from home because your employer doesn’t have the necessary facilities.

Also, you need to work from home all or part of the standard workweek on an ongoing basis. If you work remotely for one week under special circumstances for example, you can’t claim. It has to be a regular arrangement for all or part of your normal working hours.

Claiming backdated tax relief

If you’ve been working from home for a few years now and haven’t yet made a claim, you can backdate it.

If for example, you started working from home during the pandemic, you have until April 5th 2025 to make a claim for the tax year 2020/21. And for the tax year 2021/22, you have until April 5th 2026.

It’s a super simple process to claim backdated tax relief. You’ll find a special page on the website to get started. First, log into your account with your Government Gateway ID – you’ll need to set up one of these before you can make a claim and will need a valid passport, payslip or P60.

Once you’re logged in, simply follow the on-screen prompts to claim your tax relief.

However, you can only do this if you’re not claiming a tax refund for any other work expenses. If you’re also claiming for travel or tools, talk to RIFT about getting your refund set up. Plus, if you already submit a Self-Assessment tax return, you’ll need to make your working from home claim as part of this and not through the government page. We can help with that too.

Benefits and savings

The obvious benefit of claiming working from home tax relief is money back on the expenses you incur when working from home. And if you can claim this for previous years too, it’s even more of a winner.

How much you can apply for and save depends on the tax bracket you fall into.

Basic rate taxpayers

If you’re a basic rate taxpayer, you can get 20% tax back on weekly expenses of £6. That’s a total of £1.20 per week, which comes out at £62.40 per year. So, if you backdated your claim for the last three years for example, you’d get a total of £187.20.

Higher and additional rate taxpayers

If you fall into the higher tax bracket, you can claim back 40% or 45% of £6 a week. That comes out as either £2.40 a week (£124.80 per year) or £2.70 a week (£140.40 per year). A backdated claim for three years at £2.70 a week would work out as £421.20.

If the actual costs you’re running up when you work from home are much higher than the average £6 a week estimate from the government, you can make a full tax refund claim instead. To do this, you’ll need to thoroughly track and submit expenses and have any accompanying receipts and bills. This shows HMRC the real costs you’ve spent and can help maximise your claim. This is especially important if you’re backdating your claim for a few years.

Expert tips and guidance

If you’re happy with the £6 a week expenses, you can submit a simple claim without any receipts. But that doesn’t apply to everyone. If your working from home expenses are well in excess of £6 a week, you’re entitled to claim back the tax on whatever you’ve spent.

These tips will help you do just that:

  • Track everything. And we mean everything. We’re talking electricity, heating, internet etc. Just remember to split these costs between work-related and personal as a percentage.
  • Keep receipts for all your expenditure like office supplies and equipment.

You’ll need to accurately submit your claim via HMRC’s portal. Remember, HMRC have no qualms about challenging claims so your receipts and documentation will need to be squeaky clean. Speak to RIFT if you’re unsure about what you can claim for and how to do it if you think you’ve over the £6 threshold.

 If you’ve been working from home for a while, it makes sense to claim back on all your expenses for the time you’ve been remote working. You may be able to claim a tidy sum. 

Our team makes tax relief easy and stress-free. We handle everything for you and provide personalised advice tailored to your situation. Ready to get the home office tax refunds you deserve while avoiding hassle? Get in touch with RIFT and start your claim for free!