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  • Tax relief for household expenses when working at home

Tax relief for household expenses when working at home

If you are employed specifically to work at or from home, and have no alternative but to do so, you may be able to get tax relief on some of your household expenses. You can go back several years to get the relief - the time you've got to claim depends on whether you've previously sent in a Self Assessment tax return.

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When you can get tax relief for household expenses

If you have to work at, or from, home you can get tax relief for the extra household expenses that you have to pay. Typically these extra expenses include:

  • the extra cost of gas and electricity to heat and light your work area
  • business telephone calls

You won't be able to get relief on domestic expenses that you're paying anyway - like your mortgage or council tax. You also won't be able to get relief for expenses that relate to both business and private use - such as your telephone line rental, or internet access.

How much relief you can get

From 6 April 2012, for payments up to £4 per week (or £18 per month if you're paid monthly) you don't need to provide any records of the household expenses you're claiming relief for. For amounts above £4 (or £18 per month if you're paid monthly) you will need supporting evidence to show that the amount you are claiming is no more than the additional household expenses you have actually incurred.

The guideline rate from 6 April 2008 to 5 April 2012 was £3 per week.

What if you volunteer to work at home?

You might volunteer to work at home under a 'homeworking arrangement'. A homeworking arrangement is an agreement with your employer that you'll work at home on a regular basis.

You don't have to work at home every day but there must be a regular pattern - for example, 2 days at home and 3 days in your employer's premises each week. The work you do at home must be work that you're required to do as part of your employment.

If you have an arrangement like this, from 6 April 2012 your employer can contribute £4 per week (or £18 per month if you're paid monthly) towards your working at home expenses. Your employer can contribute extra if you can show that you had to spend more. You won't have to pay tax and National Insurance contributions on the amount but if your employer doesn't contribute you can't get tax relief for your working at home expenses.

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How to get tax relief for household expenses

To find out how you can get tax relief for your household expenses if you have to work at or from home and the time limits for getting it, read the guide 'How to get allowances and reliefs - employees or directors' by following the link below.

How to get allowances and reliefs - employees or directors

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