More than 50,000 people have claimed tax relief for working from home

More than 50,000 tax relief claims have been made by home workers using a new online portal, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has said.

Some 54,800 claims have been received since the portal was launched on October 1.

The portal was set up to process tax relief on additional expenses for employees who have been told to work from home by their employer to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The money can help with extra costs associated with home working such as heating and a broadband upgrade.

People are not eligible to claim tax relief if they choose to work from home.

Employers can pay staff up to £6 a week tax-free to cover additional costs for working from home.

Employees who have not received the working from home expenses payment directly from their employer can apply to receive the tax relief from HMRC.

Taxpayers who are eligible 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 can receive £2.40 a week (40% of £6 a week).

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

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.”

People can find out more and make a claim at gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home.

Once an application has been approved, the online portal adjusts the applicant’s tax code for the 2020/21 tax year. The employee will receive the tax relief directly through their salary.

HMRC is also reminding employees such as healthcare workers and care home staff, that they can also claim tax relief on work-related expenses, including cleaning uniforms.

The extra money can help thousands of workers whose efforts are helping save lives during the coronavirus pandemic.

Employees who clean, replace or repair uniform or tools, or pay fees and subscriptions for their work, can apply online directly to HMRC and see if they are eligible for tax relief on work expenses.

The taxman also said that in 2018/19, two-thirds of those claiming for expenses used an agent, rather than using HMRC directly. They will have had to pay fees or commission.

But people who are paid through Pay As You Earn (PAYE) can claim directly from HMRC and keep all the money.

HMRC is encouraging customers claiming tax relief for working from home to apply directly, and said agents will not be able to use the new service to apply for the relief on a customer’s behalf. This means customers will receive 100% of the tax relief due.

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