Use of Home as Office

If you are self-employed, there is a type of relief called use of home as office that can be offset against your tax liability.
If you run your business partially from home you can could set a proportion of your home running costs against income tax.What sounds like a very easy task for any tax accountant has proven to be quite difficult as the HM Revenue & Customs can easily argue the figures as there are no clear rules that can be applied.
Among the expenses allowed in this category we can mention the following: Council Tax, Mortgage interest, Rent, Repairs and maintenance, Cleaning, Heat, light and power, Telephone, Broadband, Metered water charges.
The factors to be taken into account when apportioning an expense include according to HMRC:
the area used for business purposes,
the usage in connection with electricity,gas or water and
the time used for business purposes compared to other use.
By following this link you can see some examples provided by HMRC related to ways of approaching the use of home as office.
This is what the courts have approved in terms of apportioning expenditure for home as office:
“… it is possible to apportion the use and cost of a room on a time basis, and to allow the expense of the room during the hours in which it is used exclusively for business purposes, in the same way as it is possible to calculate the business expenses of a car which is sometimes used for business purposes exclusively and sometimes used for pleasure.” (Templeman J in Caillebotte v Quinn [1975] )
Very important is to retain good records to evidence whatever claim you make for using your home as office in case the taxman argues your figures. For more help in understanding tax reliefs for self-employed, Taxfile in South London and Exeter is here to help.