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17 Aug 2022

More than 6 in 10 Tipperary workers voice strong support for remote working hubs

Workers in Tipperary have access to more than 25 hubs in the region

Co-working & Study Hub

Workers in Tipperary have access to more than 25 hubs in the region

More than 6 in 10 workers “love the idea” of remote working hubs and would be willing to use one of the Government’s new 242 Connected Hubs facilities, if there was one in their area. According to the latest Taxback.com Taxpayer Sentiment Survey (See Appendix) of 1,200+ taxpayers from Taxback.com’s customer database, 55% of those surveyed consider working in the office to be more expensive than working from home, whereas 33% say the costs are about the same.

Barry Cahill, Barry Cahill, Director of Taxback.com’s Employee Financial Wellbeing Service commented on the findings,

“To date, the State has invested more than €100 million upgrading former banks, Garda stations and other disused buildings to convert them into remote working hubs. The target is to have 400 hubs by 2025. There are currently 27 hubs in Tipperary* and the surrounding area and the Government has launched a voucher scheme** this summer to give people free access to these hubs as a sort of taster of what’s available.

If our survey is anything to go by, the demand for these facilities could do well to drive an even greater supply – be it from Government or private bodies. Of those taxpayers who are familiar with the concept of remote work hubs – 63% said they “love the idea”, while just over a fifth (21%) would rather work from home, with the remainder (16%) preferring to work from the office.”

The remote working hubs initiative recently announced by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, aims to support remote workers across the country by providing desk space in a range of repurposed buildings such as former convents, garda stations, and other unused buildings. These hubs will form part of a ‘Connected Hubs’ network, which are accessible through a mobile app.

Mr. Cahill commented,

“Work hubs could really come into their own in the wake of the pandemic as organizations in certain industries come to the realization that staff don’t always have to be on-site. They would also be beneficial for regional development and could really deliver for local economies, perhaps even feeding into addressing our rising property price issues. For example, if a person once based in Dublin can work from a hub in the West of Ireland, then this could open up opportunities for them in terms of home ownership.

A quarter of respondents said that they didn’t know what these hubs are, which isn’t altogether surprising, but perhaps in 12 – 24 months they will become much more mainstream; if the survey is anything to go by uptake would be strong.”

Is Remote or Office Work More Expensive? What tax relief is available?

The Taxback.com survey also questioned whether workers face more expenses in working from home or from the office.

Mr. Cahill commented,

“More than half of respondents felt that working in the office is more costly than working from home. This stands to reason, as the expenses incurred going into the office every day can stack up pretty quickly – the cost of commuting is the obvious one, and probably the most significant, for most people, but there are also the costs of lunches, coffees, even “work clothes” adding to the bill. While far fewer people - 14% - felt that working from home was more financially demanding, there are no doubt still expenses incurred with a home office. For example, utility bills will be higher, particularly in the winter when the heating is on more.”

The tax experts say that whether you’re working from home partially or full-time, or are 100% office-based, there may well be tax reliefs available through which a refund could take the sting out of any associated work costs. (See Appendix 2)

Mr. Cahill commented,

“Working from home relief and Flat Rate Expenses are two reliefs that are widely available but, in our experience, underutilised. While neither will amount to huge sums of money, we would question - even if it’s a few hundred Euro – why would anyone leave that behind? Particularly when the process to claim is pretty straight forward.”

Which, do you think, is more costly on the employee?

Working from home                                                                                                                             14%
Working in the office                                                                                                                           55%
They are about the same                                                                                                                    31%
 

To date, the State has invested more than €100 million upgrading former banks, Garda stations and other disused buildings to convert them into remote working hubs. The target is to have 400 hubs by 2025. These hubs provide a space for workers who don’t have an office to work from or perhaps for whom the office is some distance away. Would you use a working hub if there was one close to you?

I’ve never heard of these – I’m not sure what they are                                                                25%
Of those who had heard of remote work hubs

Yes, I love that idea                                                                                                                               63%
No, I’d prefer to work from home                                                                                                     21%
No, I’d prefer to go to the office                                                                                                        16%
 

Remote Working Relief

For the duration that an employee works from home they are entitled to a tax-free payment of €3.20 per day from their employer to cover their additional costs of their utility and broadband bills.

Employees whose employers are not in a position to make this payment, can claim on Remote Working relief which allows people to claim back a portion of their utility bills and broadband bills for each day that they work from home.  Specifically, 10% of the cost of electricity and heat incurred and 30% of the cost of broadband incurred. These costs have to be apportioned based on the number of days that you worked at home during the year.

 

Flat Rate Expenses

Workers across a huge range of sectors, from airline cabin crew, construction workers, and carpenters, to healthcare workers, hospitality staff, and mechanics and more are eligible for this relief. The eligibility list is available from the Revenue website.  

The amount that can be claimed depends on the job and rates are set by Revenue each year for various classes of employee. Importantly, flat rate expenses are not automatically deducted from pay so workers have to be proactive and claim them. Once the initial claim has been made, a worker only needs to apply once and, so long as their work situation doesn’t change, they don’t have to apply for it again – its automatically taken into account annually by Revenue.

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