HMRC has received more than 54,800 claims from taxpayers using a new online portal which allows workers to claim tax relief for working at home.
From 6 April 2020, employers have been able to pay employees up to £6 a week tax-free to cover additional costs if they have had to work from home.
Launched on 1 October 2020, the online portal has been set up to process tax relief on additional expenses for employed workers who have been told to work from home by their employer to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
From 6 April 2020, employers have been able to pay employees up to £6 a week tax-free to cover additional costs if they have had to work from home. Employees who have not received the working from home expenses payment direct from their employer can apply to receive the tax relief from HMRC.
HMRC is encouraging taxpayers claiming tax relief for working from home to apply directly through GOV.UK working at home.
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) towards the cost of their household bills.
Higher rate taxpayers would therefore 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.
HMRC’s Interim Director General of Customer Services, Karl Khan, 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.
‘Once the application has been approved, the online portal will adjust an individual’s tax code for the 2020/21 tax year. The employee will receive the tax relief directly through their salary and will continue to receive the adjustment until March 2021.’
Internet link: GOV.UK working at home
The government has increased the support available to self-employed workers and extended its emergency business loan schemes as the UK heads for a second national lockdown.
On 5 November Rishi Sunak announced an increase in the level of the third instalment of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) from 55% to 80% of average trading profits for November to January. SEISS grants are calculated over three months and the uplift for November to January, increases the level of the third grant to 80% of trading profits. The maximum grant will be capped at £7,500.
The SEISS grants will also be paid faster than previously planned, with the claims window opening at the end of November rather than the middle of December.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:
‘The rapidly changing health picture has meant we have had to act in order to protect people’s lives and I know this is an incredibly worrying time for the self-employed. That is why we have increased the generosity of the third grant, ensuring those who cannot trade or are facing decreased demand are able to get through the months ahead.’
On 5 November, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that as part of the new national lockdown the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of March 2021. This announcement updates the Prime Minister’s previous announcement on 31 October that the CJRS would be extended for a month until December.
The scheme has also reverted to its original level of support. Furloughed employees will receive 80% of salary for hours not worked and businesses asked only to cover national insurance and employer pension contributions.
The CJRS was due to have ended on 31 October after being scaled back to cover 60% of salaries during that month.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that the scheme will retain the flexible element and furloughed employees will receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.
A statement from the Treasury also confirmed that the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which had been due to launch on 1 November has now been postponed, and will not start until the CJRS has closed.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:
‘I’ve always said I would do whatever it takes to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK – and that has meant adapting our support as the path of the virus has changed.
‘It’s clear the economic effects are much longer lasting for businesses than the duration of any restrictions, which is why we have decided to go further with our support.
‘Extending furlough and increasing our support for the self-employed will protect millions of jobs and give people and businesses the certainty they need over what will be a difficult winter.’
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