HMRC is ‘inundated’ with claims using little know tax relief for home workers’ office equipment – how do you make a claim and what is it?
- Millions who are now working from home are entitled to claim for certain items
- This could include study chairs, desks and stationary, printer paper and ink
- These claims are made through P87 forms which are given to the taxman
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
HMRC has been ‘inundated’ with claims from employees working from home during lockdown who are taking advantage of little known tax relief for office desks, chairs and printer ink.
Millions of people who are now working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic are entitled to claim tax relief for items they say are ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily’ to successfully do their job.
This could include study chairs, desks and stationary, printer paper and ink.
These claims which are made through P87 forms given to the taxman, were not commonly used before the pandemic and were only accessible if an employer agreed an employee was required to work from home and not just because they wanted to.
HMRC has been ‘inundated’ with claims from employees working from home during lockdown who are taking advantage of little known tax relief for office desks, chairs and printer ink
But now the lockdown has opened the floodgates to claims, which could be worth hundreds of pounds of tax relief being paid back to employees.
Nimesh Shah, a partner at the tax firm Blick Rothenberg told The Times: ‘Because a large number of people have been forced to work from home during the lockdown, HMRC will be inundated with claims for home working expenses.
Online furniture store Wayfair has noted a 200 per cent increase in searches for home office items in the UK in the past month, with desks, bookcases and office chairs becoming best-selling items.
John Lewis said home office sales via its website had risen by 123 per cent from the week beginning March 16.
The amount of tax relief for office equipment will be the same as the level of income tax rate they earn at work.
How to make a claim
If you are self-employed, you should claim for your working expenses as normal through a self-assessment tax return.
If you’re employed — and you have expenses of up to £2,500 per year — you should submit a P87 form.
For bigger sums, you will also have to submit a tax return.
A P87 form can be downloaded on the Government Gateway website and sent to HMRC online or by post.
HMRC is likely to be very busy with claims so workers could claim online to save time.
You have four years from the end of the tax year to make a claim.
If it is successful, HMRC will pay you by cheque or adjust your tax code. You will not have to submit receipts with the P87, but keep them as HMRC may want to check them.
For example, a basic-rate taxpayer who claims £1,000 of allowable expenses will receive £200 – which is 20 per cent of what they spend on equipment.
Experts have warned however that employers should watch out for people buying items for personal use as HMRC says items must be for employment duties – which is difficult to prove.
Therefore purchases like clothing, broadband or a laptop won’t be accepted by HMRC as they are used in every day life as well as work.
HMRC told The Times it had no precise figures on the number of P87 claims it had received, but agreed that the volume had increased significantly.
‘HMRC is at the forefront of the government’s response to the pandemic, and is working hard to deliver the schemes announced by the Chancellor to give security and reassurance to millions of workers and businesses around the country,’ a spokesman said.
‘We would ask for patience from customers when making their applications.’
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