Anyone who did not travel to the office to work during the lockdown can make expenses claims of £10 per week on their tax forms next year to cover costs such as electricity, telephone bills and office equipment.
Any expenses claims would be offset against someone’s income for the year, reducing their overall tax liability.
Employees are eligible if they do not normally work from home but did so during the lockdown, due to the government having recommended that staff should work remotely.
Revenue Jersey confirmed that claims can be made if the employer has not footed the extra costs associated with working from home.
‘For those employees who have to work from home, but do not receive any type of payment from their employer, they may claim a flat rate of £10 per week to cover any costs incurred. This claim should be made in the employment expenses section of the 2020 income tax return,’ they said.
And John Shenton, head of tax at Grant Thornton, said claims for more than £10 may be possible – but the individual would have to prove that the costs were directly related to home-working.
‘If expenses are greater than £10 per week, you have to consider whether the expenses have been incurred wholly and exclusively for employment purposes. This is where the position is not so clear,’ he said.
‘For most people, the £10 per week allowance should cover most expenses. Besides, many have forgotten the fact that during the last three months they have not spent their cash on lunches, petrol, parking or non-essential purchases while meandering through St Helier on their lunch hour.
‘Nevertheless, if you believe that you have incurred costs over and above £10 a week, then you can claim on your tax return a higher amount.
But, can you really meet the test that the costs are solely for business purposes and would you be able to prove that were the case if the tax man were to ask?
Was that second monitor or more comfy chair wholly and exclusively for the purpose of your employer’s business, or just a nice-to-have to make life just a little easier in lockdown?’
He added that those who choose to remain working from home post-lockdown would have more difficulty claiming expenses as they were not forced to do so.