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HMRC sees 54,800 employees claim WFH tax relief

HMRC has received more than 54,800 employee claims from customers using a new online portal which allows workers to claim tax relief for working at home.

The service which launched on 1 October, has been set up to process tax relief on additional expenses for employed workers who have been told to work from home by their employer to help curb the spread of Covid-19. 

Since 6 April 2020, employers have been able to pay employees up to £6 a week tax-free to cover additional costs if they have had to work from home, eligible taxpayers can claim tax relief based on the rate at which they pay tax.

The government stated as an example that “if an employed worker pays the 20% basic rate of tax and claims tax relief on £6 a week, they would receive £1.20 a week in tax relief (20% of £6 a week) towards the cost of their household bills”.

HMRC’s interim director general of customer services, Karl Khan, said: “We want everyone to get the money that they are entitled to, so we’ve made the online service as easy to use as we can, it takes just a few minutes to make a claim.”

The portal is one of the many services that the HMRC is offering to those who have been affected by Covid-19, earlier this year the office also launched the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), a relief system which granted independent workers financial support. 

However the tax authority is now claiming that some of the £7.8bn they paid out to the 2.7m self-employed people may have been fraudulently claimed. 

According to the Financial Times, the tax group is now writing to 24,000 people who may have falsely applied for the government’s coronavirus SEISS. 

The FT also revealed HMRC said: “We are now writing to around 24,000 people to ask them to check they claimed correctly.

“We have been able to confirm the remainder were trading so do not need to contact them, if they are trading and have claimed correctly, we may ask them for extra documentation to show this.”

HMRC has set a deadline of 20 November for people to prove they applied correctly or else they may face a penalty.   

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