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Simplified Expenses – Working From Home

Beautiful young woman with coffee using laptop in the kitchen

Most people working from home were claiming the £4 per week allowance based on HMRC guidance, but this has now been updated for the self employed.

You can now calculate your allowable expenses using a flat rate based on the hours you work from home each month.

This means you don’t have to work out the proportion of personal and business use for your home, eg how much of your utility bills are for business.

The flat rate doesn’t include telephone or internet expenses. You can claim the business proportion of these bills by working out the actual costs.

You can only use simplified expenses if you work for 25 hours or more a month from home.

Hours of business use per month Flat rate per month
25 to 50 £10
51 to 100 £18
101 and more £26

Example

You worked 40 hours from home for 10 months, but worked 60 hours during 2 particular months:

10 months x £10 = £100
2 months x £18 = £36

Total you can claim = £136

Use the simplified expenses checker to compare what you can claim using simplified expenses with what you can claim by working out the actual costs.

https://www.gov.uk/simpler-income-tax-simplified-expenses/working-from-home

Alternatively you could claim you can claim a proportion (based on the number of rooms and hours of business use) of your household expenses

  • Mortgage interest or rent
  • Council tax
  • Water rates
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Building and contents insurance
  • Electricity
  • Gas, oil or other heating costs
  • Cleaning
  • Telephone (based on usage)
  • Broadband

You can draw up a home rental agreement to reclaim these costs.

The Rental Agreement can be very basic, it just needs to show:

  • The Parties – Employee, Company, Home Office Address
  • The agreement is for use of the accommodation, furniture etc (‘the Home Office’)
  • The hours it will be used
  • The rental charge

or your could use an agreement like this one

https://www.rocketlawyer.co.uk/documents-and-forms/home-office-space-agreement.rl#

If the rental is only to cover costs (and not to make a profit) then it should not create any tax liability.

Some experts say that claiming Mortgage Interest and Council Tax can be queried but that would depend on circumstances.

There are also other isuues to consider such as VAT and Capital Gains and these are covered in the blog below.

http://stevejbicknell.com/2013/01/06/what-are-the-tax-issues-and-advantages-of-a-home-office/

steve@bicknells.net

What are the tax issues and advantages of a Home Office?

Fotolia_46578927_XS home off

Working from home is a popular option for business owners and employees. Assuming you need to create office space you could either convert an existing room, loft, or garage or build a new structure in the garden.

VAT

  1. Estimate the amount of Business & Personal Use – you can only reclaim VAT on the Business Use proportion – you might have 100% business use if you were building an office in the garden. HMRC’s published and internal guidance states,
    “Where a domestic room or rooms is put to business use, you may agree to an apportionment using an objective test to the extent to which the room is put to business use” http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/vitmanual/vit10000.htm, and VAT Notice 700, Section 33,
  2. The invoice should be in Business Name
  3. You can reclaim 100% VAT on Office Equipment used entirely for business purposes (if you reclaim VAT you need to charge VAT if you sell the equipment)
  4. If you then sell your home to a buyer who wants to use the premises as part of their dwelling you don’t charge any VAT as it will be exempt

Capital Allowances

Capital Allowances are not given on land and building but you could claim for integral features, assets and equipment. Sole Traders and Partners can exclude a proportion for private use.

Benefit In Kind

Directors and Employees who have personal use of the assets will incur tax as it will be a benefit in kind. So it might be better to keep business assets for business use only to avoid this tax. Here is my blog comparing Directors Loans to Use of Assets http://stevejbicknell.com/2012/04/14/directors-loan-vs-private-use-of-company-assets/

Expenses

You can claim a proportion (based on the number of rooms and hours of business use) of your household expenses

  • Mortgage interest or rent
  • Council tax
  • Water rates
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Building and contents insurance
  • Electricity
  • Gas, oil or other heating costs
  • Cleaning
  • Telephone (based on usage)
  • Broadband

You can draw up a home rental agreement to reclaim these costs, or claim expenses, or if the use is minimal you might find it easier to claim £4 per week as suggested by HMRC.

Here are some examples http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/bimmanual/bim47825.htm

Capital Gains Tax

Your principle private residence is exempt from capital gains but your home office won’t be if its exclusively used for business, but it will only be a small proportion of the property value and as such any gain will probably be covered by your annual allowance £10,600 (2012/13) if you are a sole trader or partner, if not your company could have a small amount of capital gains tax to pay if a gain is made.

If you are a sole trader or partner and there is a private use element to your home office then the office will be exempt.

Other Issues to consider

Planning Use -You might wish to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness (Proposed)

for a change of use, for example if you wanted to use a single room in a dwelling house as an office. http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/Images/householders_guide_to_lawful_development_certificates_tcm15-2087.pdf

Insurance – you will need to inform your home insurance company that you now have a home office

Business Rateshttp://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=1086066821&r.l1=1073858808&r.l2=1073859221&r.l3=1086066759&r.s=sc&type=RESOURCES

steve@bicknells.net

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