To support employees who are working from home and need to purchase home office equipment as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, a temporary tax exemption and National Insurance disregard will come into effect to ensure that the expense will not attract tax and NICs liabilities where reimbursed by the employer. The expenditure must meet the following two conditions to be eligible for relief:
That equipment is obtained for the sole purpose of enabling the employee to work from home as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and
The provision of the equipment would have been exempt from income tax if it had been provided directly to the employee by or on behalf of the employer (under section 316 of ITEPA).
The exemption is a temporary measure and will have effect from the day after the regulations come into force until the end of the tax year 2020/21.
HMRC will exercise its collection and management discretion and will not collect tax and NICs due on any reimbursed payments made from 16 March 2020 (the date the government recommended working from home) to the date these regulations take effect.
This measure is being announced outside the normal fiscal process in order to ensure that employers and employees are able effectively to manage their working from home arrangements as soon as possible.
The Government will lay the statutory instruments to update these charges before the House in due course. A tax information and impact note (TIIN) will be published at www.gov.uk/government/collections/tax-information-and-impact-notes-tiins.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords