Telephones, Laptops and Other IT Equipment

The provision of a telephone in an employee’s home will normally be fully taxable, though the cost of genuine business calls (but not of rental) could be deducted from the taxable benefit. There is, however, an exemption for where the employer is a subscriber (but not for the reimbursement of the employee’s telephone costs) when:

  • there is a clear business need for the employer to provide the employee with a telephone, for instance if making or receiving telephone calls from the home are vital and a central part of the employee’s duties, and
  • the employer has procedures to monitor, control and minimise the cost to him or her of private use, and
  • the employer has no intention of rewarding the employee.

HMRC gives examples as to when this exemption may apply:

  • ministers of religion, where there is a need for contact with the parishioners and congregations 24 hours a day
  • teleworkers, where a telephone line at home is provided for remote computer working or telephone business
  • employees such as live-in care workers of residential homes for the elderly or disabled or hospices whose daily duties may require contact with the emergency services or the relatives of the residents they care for

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