Should people who have the privilege of working from home pay more in taxes? Sure, this is in Europe, but most of our new taxes originate from ideas in Europe…
This is a scary idea!
In one way I understand, as I’ve been working from home for 4 months (I was lucky enough to get a new job during the pandemic) and yes, I feel for the businesses that support the nearby offices- lunch restaurants; sandwich shops, dry cleaners, etc.
But working from home- even part time- doesn’t mean I’m not spending money- I am, just locally. My clothes are going to the local dry cleaners. I pick up/order in/have lunch- just in places that are in my community, and supporting local businesses. (And I miss my local Subway tuna salad sub on whole wheat- said no one ever!).
Probably the biggest place where I am really NOT spending is in transportation-- I’m in LA, so hell to the yes- I LOVE not spending $40/week on gas, the wear & tear on my car, the cost of parking, not to mention saving myself the 2+ hours a day commuting. And at this point… I guess SOME people would feel bad about not giving Mobil/Shell/etc their money, but I sure don’t. Not commuting is better for the planet, and certainly better for my spirit… I’d rather have that extra time to meet friends for dinner/drinks (locally!), go to my local gym (after Covid), and saves me a ton of stress.
My new company has been great about remote work, but as a member of the product team (design/tech) I still go into the office safely 1-2x week to select fabrics, see product, and do fittings and print/labdips, and do some meetings that require some face to face. That part of the job will never go remote. But knowing I am spending 4 hours a week commuting- rather than 10/12- is invigorating- It’s like I get my mornings and evenings back!
I know WFH certainly gives a lot of us pause, and makes us think about all the industries that have sprung up to support the commuting worker- the people who make us our sad desk salads, the guys who direct us to our parking spots, the rents on the commercial buildings, etc… but also, how many times have you worked on a project and thought- I could totally do this in my pj’s/on my couch/at the local coffee shop-- instead of from our windowless cubicle 20 miles from home, wearing an outfit that we are only wearing because we want to be “on trend” with our coworkers.
Who knows what fashion will do… most likely, we will all lag behind and drag our feet at this new way of working. Tech companies- the facebooks/amazons/googles, etc- are always the first adopters. (They actually made offices COOL, with lounge spaces/in house cafeterias/ hot desks, etc… I’ve spent most of my career in this “glamorous” industry surrounded by grey cubicles, pleather rolling chairs and flourescent lighting).
And in person jobs will never go away… yes, nurses/servers/mechanics, etc- all those jobs will still need to be done in person. If there is to be an extra tax on WFH, I would say that the employer should foot the bill- they are the ones saving on rent/liability insurance, etc. But of course my bigger concern would be how these extra funds would be then “distributed” to the “in person” employees- what would the definitions of that be; and how much money and oversight would be needed in administration to disburse those funds. A Cosmetic Surgeon needs to work in person-- would they be a recipient of the same funds as the janitor at the local school?
This seems like a recipe for disaster in terms of corruption and tax litigation.
Even past pandemic, studies are showing that people are viewing remote work differently, and that we may never go back to the way things have always been (kiss the husband/wife goodbye at 7 am, commute, buy a sandwich for lunch, commute home just in time to watch the news if you’re lucky, rinse and repeat for 5x/week.). My grandfather did the exact same thing back in the 1940’s from his house in CT to his office in Manhattan. He saw his kids only at dinner during the week. (and yes, grandma was a housewife… it was the 40’s).
But now times and technologies have changed. We all have changed many of our habits- carrying a tiny computer in our pockets, booking a trip to Fiji with the click of a button, etc. Maybe one of the saving graces of the pandemic is that it has forced us to look at work- and how we go about it- differently.
We sure should not pay more taxes working from home. By being home every day, I use more water, electricity, tea, coffee, drinking water, toilet paper, heat or cooling (electricity again). I also need to maintain hight speed Internet connection, because my type of work needs a high band width. I need to do more cleaning (time and money spent), while at the office I did not have to worry about that. I had to dedicate part of my living room as a home office. Yet, I can’t deduct any of these expenses, because technically I work for an employer and am not a independent contractor filing a schedule C. I do have to go to our offices once or twice weekly for fit sessions, so could not ditch the car completely. I have a Hybrid car, so gas was never a big expense. Extra costs I bear now (including wear and tear to my house) does not outweigh the gasoline savings. And some of the commute time savings get eaten up by texting coworkers outside of my regular work time frame. But I sure prefer working from home, because the stress of daily commute is alleviated. Also, I’m more productive without the open office distractions.
I usually work from my home studio and I pay self employment tax. If working at home is just because of the virus and you are an employee, then no. My husband works at home and has a home office but because he is also an employee, he cannot write it off.
Wow, thanks for sharing! It sounds like we have the same life! Im also in LA and the “tax” on my mental health commuting was insane.
I went from a full time in-office job to freelancing during this pandemic. I feel like I’m already paying more for having to deal with my own health insurance, 1099 taxes, etc.
It is not a “privilege” to work from home if that is not a choice, but thrust upon one by one’s employer. We pay more in electricity and heat to work in our homes.
In the fashion industry in particular, those who were not furloughed or let go are now working twice as hard to cover for lost coworkers. To tax them additionally seems to add insult to injury.
Also, why should one report from a bank with dubious lending practices be considered over elected representatives?