If you run an office from home then you can expect to have higher domestic bills. Why you may ask, well for one you will be using more electricity as you will be using your computer throughout the day and other appliances. You will also use more gas for central heating; you may even notice your water bills going up a small amount too.
If you are working from home but are employed by a company then you are entitled to claim a proportion of these expenses back against your tax bill at the end of the financial year. But HM Revenue and Customs in Britain would rather that you didn’t. Back in 2005 it capped the tax relief available for gas, electric, water and phone bills to just two pounds a week for employed workers. This is as in effect by working from home you are saving your company money. The more people a company has working from home, the less it needs to spend on bills of their own such as electricity, gas, rent for premises etc.
So why should the company keep those savings and expect the taxman to cover your costs? This is because it is down to your employer to reimburse you any costs by working from home, not the taxman. But alas more often than not the company will not as they see it that you are benefiting as you do not have to pay for travel costs.
If you are self-employed working from home then it is a different story, and a better one. You can claim some of your home bills such as gas, electric, phone and the rent against tax. But you do need to demonstrate that your home office is only used for business purposes. So if you are working in the corner of your kitchen then I don’t think it will go down very well with the taxman. The easiest way to work out what you are entitled to is by square footage, so for instance if your home office takes up fifteen percent of your home then as a rule of thumb you can claim fifteen percent back of your bill s against tax.
My advice is if you are running an office out of your home, then it is best to speak to an accountant to calculate it for you. They know the exact amounts you can claim back and how. They are the experts so ensure that you inform your accountant exactly what you use for business purposes in your home.