In response to the Covid-19 outbreak in Ireland, the Government has asked people to take all necessary measures to reduce the spread of the virus and where possible individuals are being asked to work from home.
Today Revenue updated their e-Working and Tax guidance manual (i.e. Revenue eBrief No. 045/20) in which it published Government’s recommendation as to how employers can allow employees to work from home.
The content of Tax and Duty Manual Part 05-02-13 has been updated to include:
Revenue has defined e-working to be where an employee works:
The guidance material goes on to state that e-working involves:
The revised Revenue guidance clarifies that the following conditions must also be met:
The guidance confirms that e-working arrangements do not apply to individuals who in the normal course of their employment bring work home outside standard working hours.
It would appear from the updated material, that where there is an occasional and ancillary element to work completed from home, the e-working provisions will not apply.
The revised guidance does not specify what a “formal agreement” between the employer and employee might contain therefore it would be advisable for businesses/employers going forward to consider putting in place a formal structure for employees looking to avail of the e-worker relief in the future.
The guidance material states in broad terms that employees forced to work from home due to the Covid crisis can claim a tax credit.
“Where the Government recommends that employers allow employees to work from home to support national public health objectives, as in the case of Covid-19, the employer may pay the employee up to €3.20 per day to cover the additional costs of working from home. If the employer does not make this payment, the employee may be entitled to make a claim under section 114 TCA 1997 in respect of vouched expenses incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of the employment”.
The revised guidance advises that employers must retain records of all tax-free allowance payments to employees.
In situations where an employee is working from their home but undertakes business travel on a particular day and subsequently claims travel and subsistence expenses, please be aware that if the e-workers daily allowance is also claimed by that employee for the same day, then it will be disallowed and instead, treated as normal pay in the hands of the employee/e-worker i.e. it will be subject to payroll taxes.
Where an employee qualifies as an e-worker, an employer can provide the following equipment for use at home where a benefit-in-kind (BIK) charge will not arise provided any private use is incidental:
There is no additional USC liability imposed on the provision of this work-related equipment to an employee.
Please be aware, however, that laptops, computers, office equipment and office furniture purchased by an employee are not allowable deductions under s. 114 of the Taxes Consolidation Act (TCA) 1997.
e-Working expenses can be claimed by completing an Income Tax return. An individual can complete this form on the Revenue website as follows:
As a claim may be selected for future examination, all documentation relating to a claim should be retained for a period of six years from the end of the tax year to which the claim relates.
Finally, for employees who meet the relevant conditions and are deemed qualify as e-workers:
For further information, please follow the link: https://www.revenue.ie/en/tax-professionals/ebrief/2020/no-0452020.aspx