In most cases, you can claim tax relief on the full cost of this type of equipment. Tax relief is reduced if your employer provides a contribution towards buying the item.

The way to claim tax relief depends on the amount you are claiming. HMRC provides the following information on making a claim:

Claims up to £2,500

You can make your claim:

  • Using a Self-Assessment tax return if you already fill one in.
  • By using HMRC’s online service or by printing and posting form P87 if you do not already fill in a tax return.
  • By phone if you have had a successful claim in a previous year and your expenses are less than £1,000 (or £2,500 for professional fees and subscriptions).

Claims over £2,500

  • You can only claim using a Self-Assessment tax return. You will need to register if necessary.

There are different rules if you are an employee using your own uniforms, work clothing and tools for work. You cannot make claim relief on the initial cost of buying small tools or clothing for work. However, it is possible to claim for the cost of repairing or replacing small tools you need to do your job (for example, scissors or an electric drill), or cleaning, repairing or replacing specialist clothing (for example, a uniform or safety boots). A claim for valid purchases can be made against receipts or as a ‘flat rate deduction’. 

You have four years from the end of the tax year to make a claim. This means that there is a deadline of 5 April 2022 for making a claim dating back to the 2017-18 tax year. 

One month left to join VAT Deferral Payment Scheme

Businesses that deferred VAT payments last year have until 21 June 2021 to join the new online payment scheme. This would allow them to spread the cost of repayment over a number of months. The VAT deferral scheme is open to businesses that took the option to defer the payment of their VAT liabilities between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. 

Under the scheme, businesses have the option to pay their deferred VAT in smaller payments over a longer period and interest free. Instead of having to repay the full amount by 31 March 2021, businesses can make smaller interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year and complete payment of any arrears by 31 March 2022. 

The maximum number of instalments allowed under the scheme is based on the date businesses sign up for the scheme. The first instalment must be paid on joining the scheme. The March, April and May joining dates have passed but businesses that join by 21 June 2021 (the last available date) can pay in eight instalments.

Businesses must also meet certain conditions to use the scheme including being up to date with their VAT returns. HMRC has confirmed that businesses may be charged a 5% penalty or interest if they do not pay the VAT in full, sign up to the scheme or arrange to pay by 30 June 2021.

Check if you can claim working from home expenses

If you are an employee who is working from home, you may be able to claim tax relief for some of the bills you pay that are related to your work. 

Note that if an employee is working at home voluntarily, they cannot claim tax relief. However, these tax reliefs are available to anyone who has been asked to work from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. HMRC received more than 3 million claims for the tax relief for the 2020-21 tax year and has also confirmed that the tax relief will continue to be available in the current 2021-22 tax year.

HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, recently commented that:

‘Half a million people have already reduced their Income Tax this year by up to £125, by claiming tax relief on their working from home expenses.’

Employers may reimburse employees for the additional household expenses incurred by working at home. The relief covers expenses such as business telephone calls or heating and lighting costs for the room in which you are working. Expenses that are for private and business use (such as broadband) cannot be claimed. Employees may also claim tax relief on equipment purchased to facilitate working at home such as a laptop, chair or mobile phone.

Employers can pay up to £6 per week (or £26 a month for employees paid monthly) to cover an employee’s additional costs if they must work from home. Employees do not need to keep any specific records if they receive this fixed amount. 

If the expenses or allowances are not paid by the employer, then the employee can claim tax relief directly from HMRC. Employees will get tax relief based on their highest tax rate. For example, if they pay the 20% basic rate of tax and claim tax relief on £6 a week, they will get £1.20 per week in tax relief (20% of £6). Higher rate taxpayers would receive £2.40 a week (40% of £6). Employees can claim more than the quoted amount but will need to provide evidence to HMRC.

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Presh JM Reporter

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