A worker forced to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic has failed in his bid to have part of his accommodation rental bill recognised as an expense.
In January of last year, the worker filed an Income Tax return and sought to have €587 of the rental cost of his accommodation treated as an expense as he was working from home between March and December 2020 during the early stages of Covid-19.
The worker lives with his partner in Dublin and they pay a rent of €1,800 per month and the couple divide equally the cost of the apartment.
The worker’s firm closed its offices in March 2020 due to Covid-19 and arising from that, the worker worked from the spare bedroom in the apartment, part of which he converted into a home office.
The worker sought to deduct the €587 rental cost as it was “money wholly, exclusively and necessarily” incurred by him in the performance of his employment duties.
In response to the worker putting down €587 of rent payments as an expense, Revenue wrote to the worker and stated that “…for the purpose of e-working, the expenses that Revenue is willing to consider as wholly, exclusively and necessary in the performance of employment duties are electricity, heat and broadband”.
Revenue argued that the worker “was required to rent the apartment to meet his own personal need for accommodation whether he was working remotely or not”.
“Given his own need to have somewhere to live, his rental costs cannot be said to have been wholly and exclusively incurred by him in the performance of his duties,” it stated.
Revenue refused the worker’s claim for a portion of his rent and issued a Statement of Liability on January 28th 2021, which the worker duly appealed to the Tax Appeals Commission (TAC).
In her determination, Commissioner, Claire Millrine found in favour of Revenue stating that she cannot accept the worker’s argument that a portion of his rental costs for the period were “wholly, exclusively and necessarily” incurred in the performance of his duties of employment.
Ms Millrine stated that she was satisfied that any duality of purpose of the accommodation is fatal to a claim where the requirement is that an expense be incurred, wholly and exclusively, in the performance of an employee’s duties of employment.
Ms Milrine stated that she was satisfied that the expense incurred is outside the ambit of what is deductible under the Tax Consolidation and for that reason, the worker’s appeal must be refused.
On the methodology of calculating the rent, the man told the TAC that the total sum due by him for rent for the period being €9,700 and based on the days and hours worked in the portion of the apartment he used as a home office, which he described as in or around 11%.
Revenue stated that the worker’s argument is that the expenses incurred are essential to the performance of the employment.
“However, the expenses incurred are not in the performance of the employment. That is an important distinction,” stated Revenue.