As a result of the Covid-19 crisis thousands of people have been asked to work from home, many of whom will never have operated from home up to now, and are likely to be unaware that they can claim a special tax relief called E-Worker Relief.

People working from home are entitled to be paid €3.20 a day by their employer to cover heating, electricity and broadband costs.  This payment is tax-free, which means the employer won’t be deducting PAYE, PRSI or USC from this amount.

There is no legal obligation for an employer to make the payment.  However, even if your employer is not paying the €3.20 a day, these expenses are still eligible for tax relief and the home-worker can claim the amount back against their own tax bill. 

“Any claims made will need to be supported with evidence in the form of receipts and possibly a letter from your employer stating that you do, in fact, work from home and that they do not reimburse you for these expenses.”  The allowance or rebate claimed must be reasonable, allowing for the fact that the utilities are for both personal and work and benefit everyone else in the home.  This means the refund received will be based on only a portion of the overall expenses.  Even if your employer does reimburse its employees and the cost to the worker exceeds the €3.20, tax can still be reclaimed on the difference.

To make a claim the e-worker must submit receipts to their local Revenue office using MyEnquiries, which is available through their MyAccount facility.

These arrangements only apply to eWorker employees. They do not apply to workers who bring work home outside of normal working hours.

So, who is an e-worker?

e-Working is where an employee works:

  • at home on a full or part-time basis
  • part of the time at home and the remainder in the normal place of work
  • while on the move, with visits to the normal place of work.

e-Working involves:

  • working for substantial periods outside the normal place of work
  • logging onto a work computer remotely
  • sending and receiving email, data or files remotely
  • developing ideas, products and services remotely.

An employer may provide any of the following equipment/facilities to an eWorker employee for business use:

  • computer or laptop
  • printer
  • scanner
  • software to allow you to work from home
  • telephone, mobile and broadband
  • office furniture.

This will not be treated as aBenefit-in-Kind where private use by your employee is minimal.