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Rent, Rates & Power

Hi guys. Need some advice from any fellow freelancers who work from home.

It's about self-assessment tax. I'm just doing my first return - I've used the paper one to work it all out and I'm going to file it online shortly. I found it quite straightforward actually, except for one thing. I work from home, and I'm completely stumped as to what to put in the 'Rent, Rates & Power' box. How do you work out the extra amount of electricity, gas and water you've used since starting up a home office? I know they allow you £3 a week without questioning it, but that doesn't seem a lot to me. I've looked online, but it seems like a lot of freelancers are having the same problem on the message boards I've read.

Problem is I live at a mate's house and she takes care of all the bills - I just give her a rent cheque every month. I have no idea how much she pays for the utilities, or how much the cost gone up since I started working from home. I can't ask her either cos she's working in the U.S at the moment. Any suggestions? How do you work it out? :confused:

Cheers guys,



Senior Member
Ask her how much the bills cost and work everything out. Add as many expenses as possible ok,

Wish i had a mate (girl) that sorts everything out too:p!


Staff member
How I was told to do it was basically divide the amount by the number of rooms in the house, although obviously it's not always that simple, it's fine for things like water and heating in my opinion but electric is a little different (especially when your work revolves around computers).

Alternatively if you have access to the power meter, read the amount at the same time during a work day and a day when your work equipment isn't on so you can get a 24 hour reading. In my case I add about 4 units (10 instead of 6) per 24 hours onto our usual electricity measurements. I then just tally up the number of 'work' days out of the quarter and multiply by 4 units, then use that to work out a percentage of the electrical cost etc.


Staff member
I'm not quite so sure, I gave it a quick spin and it came in rather low for me, it wouldn't cover everything strangely but hey, I'm happy on what I charge :)