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Working from home: do the company pay for electric use and other bills?

One of the practical queries you may have about working from home is do the company pay for electric use and other bills? This is far from a trivial question. However, it can be difficult to bring it up with the employer. Here is a quick guide to help clarify the issue...

If you are working as an employee, the company will generally supply you with all the necessary hardware and software, and usually give you an allowance for bills such as electricity, phone and internet. If you have already worked for the company in an office-based role, you'll be in a good position to sit down with Human Resources or the Finance department to discuss these matters in more detail.

It's unusual that the employer will cover all your bills - after all, because you'll be working from home, much of the usage will be of a personal nature.

If you are self employed, i.e. working on a freelance or consultant basis, you will normally be required to supply your own equipment and pay all associated bills. There may be room for negotiation on this issue, so it could be worth your while preparing an allowances proposal.

However, if you are self employed, you'll be responsible for paying your own tax. Company start up costs, such as computers and phones, plus associated bills, such as a reasonable percentage of your electricity costs, may be tax deductible. This means that you could effectively get your money back for them. Speak to a financial advisor for more details.

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