HMRC - 50% increase in tax free allowance, and other updates
Working from home allowance
You may be interested to learn that HMRC have increased the tax free allowance that employers can pay their employees if they are required to work from home. The allowance is intended to compensate employees for the additional costs of home working, heat and light etc. From 2008-09 onwards the allowance has been increased to £3 a week. (Previously £2 per week)
If by chance you work from home and your employer does not pay you the allowance, you may be able to make a claim for the cost of running a home office. Unfortunately the present agreed weekly allowance is still £2 per week - HMRC have not yet confirmed that they will allow a similar 50% increase. However it is reasonable to assume that this would apply.
In both cases if it can be demonstrated that actual additional costs of home working are more than £2/£3 per week, employers could pay more than the £3 allowance and un-reimbursed employees may be able to claim their actual costs.
Unfortunately the criteria which apply to the tax free payment from employers is less restrictive than the rules which apply to a claim from employees who have to meet their own homeworking costs. If you would like more information on this issue please call.
Payments on account from 5 April 2009
Presently self assessed tax payers are required to make a payment on account in January and July each year if their previous years self assessment exceeded £500.
This limit is to be increased to £1,000 and will be effective from 6 April 2009 (for tax years 2009/10 onwards). i.e. payments on account due January and July 2010.