Use of home as office

By Tolley

The following Personal Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Use of home as office
  • Self-employed
  • Employed
  • Tax planning for employees and partners in a partnership

Many people work from home either on an informal or a full-time basis. These people can be employed or self-employed and their employment status affects the expenses they can claim as a deduction from their earnings.

When dealing with someone working from home it is important to remind him that although exclusive business use of part of the house may allow him to claim tax relief for more of his household expenses, it will restrict his capital gains tax relief on the sale of the house. This is discussed further in the Principal private residence relief ― anti avoidance guidance note.

Normally, there will be no liability to business rates if the room(s) used for the business is also used domestically. If a room is used exclusively, or almost exclusively, for business, then business rates may be payable. The council tax banding on the remainder of the property may also need adjustment. For more on business rates, see the GOV.UK website .


The general rule for allowing revenue expenses against self-employed earnings is that the expenses must be:

  • not capital in nature, and
  • wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade (the non-business proportion of the expense is disallowed)

ITTOIA 2005, ss 33, 34

The general rule is applied to the different types of expenses home workers might incur. With most home expenses this means that the allowable deduction will be the amount of the expense which relates to the home working (eg 10% of the electricity bill, for example).

For more discussion on the general rule, see the Trading income and expenses guidance note.

See also ‘Home sweet home’ by Dean Wootten in Taxation, 12 June 2008, 638 (subscription sensitive).

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