Employee fails in bid to have part of rent designated as business expense
Posted on 1st September 2022 at 23:37
Worker used spare bedroom as office during Covid restrictions and appeal to Tax Appeals Commission did not succeed
An employee forced to work from home during Covid-19 has failed in his bid to have part of his accommodation rental bill recognised as an expense.
In January of last year, the employee 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 employee lives with his partner in Dublin and they pay a rent of €1,800 per month and divide equally the cost of the apartment.
His firm closed its offices in March 2020 due to Covid-19 and, 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”.
It stated: “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.”
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.
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 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.
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