Working from home is an arrangement which workers all over Ireland have had to adapt to during the COVID crisis and a new survey from tax refund specialists Taxback.com reveals that of those who are working from home, 63% still do not know that they can avail of tax relief for a portion of costs incurred by home working.
The survey asked 2,500 people their views, to gain an insight into general awareness around current e-worker tax reliefs. The survey also explored attitudes around the further deployment of Government tax measures to either incentivise remote working, or help cover the cost of childcare for workers.
Taxback.com say there is a widespread lack of awareness about the working from home relief amongst the general public – 70% of the overall survey group said they did not know about it, and of those who are currently working from home, 63% had no idea they could claim.
Recent statistics from the CSO show that almost half the population (47%) aged 15 years+ have experienced employment impacts as a result of the COVID outbreak. The CSO reports that of those workers whose employment has been impacted by the pandemic, 34% have started remote working from home, 12% have increased their number of hours remote working from home and 23% have seen a change in their work hours.
The Taxback.com survey also questioned respondents as to whether they would like to see greater tax incentives for employees to work from home on the basis that it would reduce congestion and emissions, and would facilitate reduced number of people in the workplace, or would they rather such money be used to provide greater funding for childcare in the State.
There was a mixed response to this question, 55% would prefer a tax incentive and 45% would prefer to see the money used to fund childcare.
The survey showed of the 45% would prefer to see the money used to fund childcare, 22% of these people don’t have children. Perhaps these respondents either see themselves as having children in the future and would like to safeguard their financial future, or they are empathetic with the struggles of families around funding childcare in general and would rather see more specific supports in that regard.
Commenting on the findings, CEO of Taxback.com, Joanna Murphy said, "In terms of the type of costs that home workers can factor in the most obvious ones are heating, electricity and perhaps broadband expenses. From a tax perspective, an employer can pay €3.20 a day or €768 per annum to their employee to cover these additional costs. This payment is tax free, which means they won’t be deducting PAYE, PRSI or USC from that amount, although there isn’t a legal obligation for employers to do this."
She added, "There are, however, also a few unexpected costs that you can claim relief on such as property taxes, home insurance, supplies and tools, license fees, and training costs (where they are for upgrading skills that relate to your employment)."