Income and employment has been drastically affected by coronavirus and while Rishi Sunak and the wider government have put plans in place to limit the damage, there will still be those who will face unavoidable repercussions. There are a lucky few who have been able to work from home with minimal impacts on their work but even this could generate unexpected costs.
“And of course, lockdown has not yet been lifted entirely.
“Indoor gyms, nail bars and swimming pools are still closed, mass gatherings are still prohibited, social distancing is still essential.”
Maike Currie, an Investment Director for Fidelity International, commented on this difficult state of affairs and what it means for our finances: “While some of us will be returning to something more like normal over the next few weeks and months, others will be facing continued disruption to their day-to-day routines and working arrangements for the foreseeable future.
“Whichever category you fall into, there’s no escaping that the way we work, rest and play are all now subject to change – all of which is likely to affect our financial decisions.”
Fortunately, Maike detailed that those working from home could turn to the government for a bit of support with their bills.
The support provided could even be used for personal savings plans, as Maike explained: “If you are still working from home, there are ways to generate some extra money that could boost your retirement savings.
“One way is the facility to claim tax relief on household bills.
“You might not be aware that you can claim expenses in this way – up to £6 per week can be claimed to cover household bills while working from home.”
There are some limitations to this though and Maike highlighted what can and can’t be claimed for: “You must be an employee who is home working as a direct consequence of the COVID-19 restrictions – as many firms have closed their workplaces. If you are working from home on a voluntary basis, then unfortunately you cannot make a claim.
“There are restrictions on what you can claim. Costs that would be the same whether or not you are working at home, like your mortgage, council tax and water rates cannot be claimed. The expenses that can be claimed are the additional costs that you incur from home working – electricity, IT equipment and heating for example.”
To claim this kind of tax relief, a “P87” government form will need to be completed.
This can be done online or by filling out a physical version to be sent to the government.
To complete the form itself, the person will need the following information ready:
- Their employers name
- Their PAYE reference
- Their job title and
- Their National Insurance number (for posted forms)