The scheme states that you can claim for office furniture, ink, stationery and more to help you work from home – it starts at £6 a week, or £26 a month, though you can claim for more expensive items too.
If you are self-employed, you should claim for working expenses as normal through a self-assessment tax return.
If you’re employed — and you have expenses of up to £2,500 per year — you should submit a P87 form.
For bigger sums, you will also have to submit a tax return.
A P87 form can be downloaded on the Government Gateway website and sent to HMRC online or by post.
You have four years from the end of the tax year to make a claim.
If it is successful, HMRC will pay you by cheque or adjust your tax code. You will not have to submit receipts with the P87, but keep them as HMRC may want to check them.
But bear in mind that HMRC will not accept claims for ‘everyday’ items such as clothing, broadband or a laptop.
The amount of tax relief for office equipment will be the same as the level of income tax rate that you’re on at work.
For example, a basic-rate taxpayer who claims £1,000 of allowable expenses will receive £200 – which is 20% of what they spend on equipment.
“Your employer is allowed to pay you £6 a month tax free if forced to work from home,” consumer expert Martin Lewis explained on the ITV Money Show.
“You can claim more if it’s costing you more – but that’s a lot more labour intensive.
“To make the process easy, HMRC says that claims in line with the employers’ payment (ie, for £6 a week) will not need to justify that figure – meaning you won’t need to keep receipts or prove information.”
It’s not a huge amount of cash, but it’s better than nothing.
“The impact of a £6 a week claim is the tax savings, that’s a gain of £1.20 a week (about £62 a year) for basic 20% rate taxpayers, and £2.40 a week (about £124 a year) for higher 40% rate taxpayers.”
If you have higher costs then you can claim more, but need evidence of the cost increases.
To get it, there are two main ways.
“You’ll be asked for your employer’s name and PAYE reference (which you can find on your payslip or P60), and your job title,” Martin said.
“For postal P87s, you’ll also need your national insurance number.”
He said the key part was the “Using your home as an office” section.
For the online form, Martin said it’s easiest to put £6 for each week spent at home in the “amount you have paid” section and £0 in the “amount paid to you by your employer” section if they haven’t boosted your wages.
If you’re claiming through the postal form, you need to add a “Using your home as an office” expense in the “Other expenses” section manually.
“Once you’ve submitted the claim, if you do it online you may hear back within a couple of weeks. However, obviously if HMRC is under pressure it may take longer,” Martin added.