THOUSANDS of Brits are still working from home due to the pandemic but experts warn this could be adding an extra £45 each month to your energy bills.
Remote working may save you money on your commute but your budget could be hit by spending more on heating and electricity, especially during the cold winter months.
Employees working from home during the pandemic will see energy bills rise by £17 a month, a study by Nottingham Trent University professor Amin Al-Habaibeh found.
But staff living in one of England’s 600,000 most inefficient properties already face a £28 a month rise in heating bills during the winter months, the same research found.
For these workers, spending more time at home during the day could cost them an extra £45 a month in electricity and heating costs.
The most inefficient homes in the study were uninsulated and detached, meaning more heating was needed to keep them warm, according to the study.
In contrast, properties that are very well insulated – with a gas fired boiler – will see their heating bill rise by between £1.31 to £4.20 per month depending on the property type
How to claim tax back on energy bills when working from home
TAX can be claimed back on up to £6 a week to help cover the additional costs of working from home, such as higher energy bills.
Prior to April 6 when the new financial year began, tax could be claimed back on expenses of up to £4 a week.
For those paying the standard tax rate of 20%, £1.20 per week can be claimed.
While for people who pay tax at the higher rate of 40%, £2.40 per week can be claimed.
Additional rate tax payers who pay 45% can claim £2.70 a week.
To claim tax back on working from home costs complete a P87 from online.
It’s fairly straightforward with a Government Gateway account which you may already have or you can set up, or you can complete a paper P87 form.
In the section called “using your home as an office”, you’ll be asked to enter the amount you paid.
You won’t have to show receipts or prove this is how much you spent.
You’ll also be asked to enter the amount repaid by your employer. This will be zero if you haven’t been reimbursed.
If you have been reimbursed you can’t claim back the tax – your employer has already included this.
You usually get the money back by paying less tax, rather than receiving a refund. Your tax code may be adjusted to show this.
The time it takes for this to happen can vary and there are likely to be a larger number of claims than usual so there could be delays.
Additionally, all those extra cups of tea and TV breaks while working from home will push up electricity bills, the study warns.
Professor Al-Habaibeh said: “The results show that a family living in a well-insulated home and who normally use a car to travel to work will not be affected significantly in terms of their household budget, as they will save on diesel or petrol.
“It also shows that the increase of carbon emissions from heating their homes will on the whole be compensated by the reduction in car use.
“But for a family with a poorly insulated house who in normal circumstances do not travel long distances to work, working from home over winter will cause much more of a strain on their budget as they will be consuming more energy.”
Here is how you can save money on your energy bills.
If you haven’t changed energy supplier in a while you could be on a standard variable tariff.
This is an energy company’s default rate that is usually more expensive than new deals on the market.
Use a comparison website to shop around for the latest energy deals.
MoneySuperMarket claims users can save at least £286 by switching supplier.
Claim back your energy costs
Some employers may reimburse you for the additional expenses of working from home, such as higher energy bills or you can instead claim tax back.
You can claim up to £6 a week by completing a P87 form to get tax relief from HMRC.
This will reduce your tax bill rather than giving you money back.
The amount of money you get off depends on your tax rate.
To check if you’re eligible and to use the online tool, you can visit the page on Gov.uk.
Keep more of your heating indoors by ensuring your home is draught-free.
Buy draught proofing strips for your windows and get a draught excluder for the bottom of your front and back doors to keep the cold chills outside.
This can save around £25 per year on energy bills.
Change your habits
Regularly boiling the kettle at work or leaving your computer on in the office may not affect you, but the same habits will cost you money at home.
Filling the kettle with the amount of water you need could save around £6 a year and completely switching off appliances rather than leaving them on standby could save around £35 annually, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Similarly, turning down your room thermostat by just one degree and wrapping up with a jumper or cardigan instead could save around £60 a year.
If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, you may be able to get some help from your supplier.
Find out your rights if it is too cold to work from home.
See how you could save £300 on your energy bills this winter.