Having a cleaner in your home can seem like a luxury but for many, it’s fast becoming essential. Households of all kinds are under enormous pressure and work hours are only increasing with dual-income households becoming the norm. With both parents working, we simply don’t have the time to invest in housework that we used to. However, it’s not only families who are working more – young people, especially entrepreneurs, put in long hours at the office, even if that office is at home.
In 2020, 37% of the UK workforce did at least some work from home (BBC report). This was up from 27% the previous year. Of course, the pandemic is largely responsible for this increase but that doesn’t mean the figure won’t continue to rise. After many years of being promised that home working was the future, and failing to see that materialise, it seems that for many home working may be here to stay.
Although there are many benefits of working from home, there are also some substantial drawbacks. This includes the extra costs that you can incur when using your home as an office. These include household expenses such as heating, but could also include other requirements, such as domestic cleaning services.
Many who find themselves working from home find that being home more often results in more mess and that becomes a distraction. Yet, is a cleaner an affordable cost and, since you’re using your home as our office, can you expense your cleaning costs?
Benefits Of Hiring A Cleaner When Working From Home
Contrary to popular belief, working from home doesn’t mean lots more free time. It often means you work longer hours because many people working from home are self-employed or running a business, which means you need to both find the work and do the work. Or to run your business and promote your business. This is one reason that many people working from home benefit from hiring a cleaner, but here are some more:
- Home-workers can find themselves distracted from work by cleaning chores
- Many professionals find a cleaner work environment is conducive to productivity
- Hiring a cleaner often saves money because it frees up more time for work, especially for freelancers needing to optimise billable hours and entrepreneurs launching or growing a business
- Some homeworkers may have meetings in their homes or attend online meetings where their home can be seen on video calls
Can Cleaning Costs Be Expensed For Home Working?
There is no straightforward answer to this question and it depends largely on your circumstances, including whether you’re self-employed, running a business or are in employment. Let’s look at those scenarios and whether you would be able to claim expenses on hiring a cleaner.
Can I Expense Cleaning Costs When Working From Home?
If you are employed but working remotely then it may be difficult to claim cleaning expenses. Employees who were required to work from home during the pandemic were able to claim tax relief on household expenses. These had to be proven as expenses that were wholly and exclusively a result of working from home and that these expenses were necessary. Therefore, justifying a cleaning expense may rest on the number of hours you were required to work and whether that reasonably impacted your ability to clean your home yourself. Whilst a percentage of heating, lighting, internet and water costs can be deducted as this raised the cost of attending work, it may be difficult to claim that a cleaner was absolutely required.
What you may want to consider if you’re considering accepting or transitioning to a remote-working job, is renegotiating your contract. You’ll need to consider the costs you save on commuting but also the costs you’ll incur for working from home. Whilst a spotless home can be offputting, once your home becomes a work environment you may need it to be more regularly cleaned, as an office usually would be. Your salary should cover any expenses that are a result of homeworking.
Can I Expense Cleaning Costs If I’m Self-Employed?
If you are self-employed then yes, you should be able to claim having a cleaner as part of your household expenses. Therefore, they would be tax-deductible, so long as you are working from home the majority of the time.
That means a percentage of heating, lighting, internet and water costs if you’re working from home and the ability to claim back tax on any equipment, subscriptions, software, hardware and even stationery that are necessary for running your business or supporting your self-employment.
To claim any costs for using your home as an office you may have to prove that you spend the majority of your working day at your home location. As an example, if you spend most days on client sites but have the odd few hours where you do your administration from home, this would not qualify as ‘working from home’.
Claiming expenses when self-employed and working from home can be done one of two ways.
Simplified Expenses – This is a flat rate calculated by the HMRC that should reflect and deduct your average expenses for you as a sole trader. Find out more.
Fair Proportion Of Bills – If you’re self-employed you can claim tax back on those expenses that would be regarded as running costs of your business. Rather than a flat rate, fair proportion of bills is a more accurate but more complex breakdown of your expenses. Find out more.
Do I Need A Cleaner If I Work From Home?
In an office, cleaners would generally come in every evening to clean and hoover. That’s party due to the amount of activity that takes place in an office, however, there are other reasons too. People are generally more productive in clean environments. Someone who may enjoy the ‘lived in’ feel in a home environment may have an extremely tidy desk space at work. When you work from home though your environment is multi-purpose. Some people find that they, therefore, need their home to be professionally cleaned.
In addition, working from home can be distracting. Especially if you’re seeing things around the house that need your attention. Yet, those working from home need to be able to focus on their businesses or jobs. Having someone take care of your home environment so that you can thrive at work is then a small price to pay, and one that can be expensed in many cases.