IT scheme offers tax-free home technology

More accountants should take advantage of a government-led IT scheme that could prove to be a lucrative money-spinner, according to the head of an accountants’ networking-group.

The scheme, known as the Home Computing Initiative, allows employers to implement a tax-free loan scheme for computer equipment for their employees to use at home.

Dave Reynolds, head of the IAAITC, has argued that more accountants should encourage their clients to take advantage of the scheme’s benefits, which could generate a reduction in national insurance contributions.

Offering this service to prospective clients could see accountants get their ‘foot in the door’.

‘If accountants go into a business where their own accountant has failed to point out the benefits of the HCI scheme, they can say “why haven’t they?”,’ said Reynolds. ‘Once the accountant gets into a business it gives them the opportunity to work with the client in other areas.’

The scheme works primarily by increasing the benefits package offered by an employer to its staff. Normally the employee would accept a small salary sacrifice in return for the loaned computer. Depending on the scale of the project, the business could reduce NI contributions on the amount of their employees’ salaries sacrificed, in turn generating operational savings.

Swindon-based Morris Owen joined the scheme in January and has tested it on its own firm.

‘From a business perspective, it’s a cost-neutral way of improving skills and boosting productivity,’ said partner Ian Sumbler at the launch.

‘Besides extending the employee benefits package, we expect staff to become increasingly computer savvy as they become more familiar with the technology and the various applications that are available.’

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