Taxable benefit charge – returning office equipment

A taxable benefit charge can apply when employees return office equipment they used to work from home. There was a significant rise in the provision of office equipment to employees working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualifying home office equipment is that deemed necessary for an employee to work from home and can, for example, include a laptop, mobile phone, office desk and chair and other necessary computer accessories such as webcams.

Taxable benefit charges are as follows:

  • If you supplied your employees with office equipment so they could work from home, and you did not transfer ownership, there is no tax charge when they return the equipment to you.
  • If you transfer the ownership of home office equipment to an employee at any stage of their employment, a benefit charge generally arises on the market value of the equipment at the time of the transfer, less any amount made good by the employee.
  • If your employee has agreed to purchase home office equipment for use whilst working at home due to COVID-19 and you reimburse the exact expense, unless you have specified that your employee must transfer ownership to you, the ownership of the equipment rests with your employee. There is no benefit charge on the reimbursement.
  • There is also no benefit charge if you allow your employee to keep the equipment as it is something that they already own.

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