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The Inform: Ought to Working From Dwelling Be Taxed?

One office is empty, employees are working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Should remote workers be taxed?

Those who work from home get a free ride, argues a new analysis by Deutsche Bank, and the economic troubles caused by the sudden brain drain of roughly half the workforce to their living rooms rather than offices should be partial be offset by a tax.

“The sudden switch to WFH means that for the first time in
History has separated a large part of people from that
The face-to-face world still has a full economic life, ”he wrote
Strategist Luke Templeman. “That means remote workers contribute less
the infrastructure of the economy while still maintaining its benefits. "

We all know the "infrastructure" that Templeman refers to. Huge swaths of downtown office properties are empty, along with their computer networks and utility connections. Transportation systems designed to double Farebox revenues are in serious financial trouble.

On the flip side, the benefits to those workers who can do their work from home are pretty big, argues Templeman.

"WFH offers direct financial savings on expenses such as travel, lunch, clothing and cleaning," he said. “Add to this the indirect savings from foregoing socializing and other costs that would have arisen if an employee had been in the office. Add to this the intangible benefits of working from home, such as: B. more job security, comfort and flexibility. There is also the benefit of added security. "

See: The ETF “Work-from-Home” is here. Get ready for some surprises.

While some people complain that they forego socializing instead of viewing his loss as a plus, there are some drawbacks Templeman recognizes, including family care. However, most workers must see the costs and benefits as he does, since most express a desire to continue working from home at least temporarily, even when this is no longer necessary.

Proportion of new home workers who will continue to do so after the pandemic ends

One day a week

16%

Two days a week

33%

Three days a week

19%

Four days a week

4%

Five days a week

4%

Source: Deutsche Bank Research

How would such a tax work?

Templeman provides for it to be paid by employers who choose to save by asking their workers to stay at home instead of paying for a seat in an office and by employees who are offered such a seat who choose to stay home, however. This would not apply to "self-employed and low-income people", he adds, and would not apply if people are asked to stay home for health or other reasons such as in 2020.

Regarding the amount, Templeman writes: “If we accept that
The average salary of a person looking to work from home in the United States is $ 55,000.
A five percent tax is just over $ 10 per working day. This is
roughly the amount an office worker could spend on commuting, lunch, and food
Laundry etc. A tax of this amount leaves them no worse off than if they did
They had decided to go to the office. "

According to Templeman's calculations, this would bring in $ 48
Billions a year. He suggests using it for a very specific purpose – to give
$ 1,500 grants to 29 million workers unable to do their jobs from home
and who make less than $ 30,000 a year: “A lot of these people are the ones who
accepted the health risks of work during the pandemic and are far greater
"Substantially" than the wage level suggests. "

That's a fair point, although it's unclear how much good a
A one-time grant of $ 1,500 would be sufficient for such workers. And even this tax should
Draw criticism, he admits.

“Some will argue against the tax. They will say that getting involved in business is a personal choice and you shouldn't be punished for making that choice, ”Templeman wrote. But he remains convinced that changes must come. "As our current society moves towards a state of 'human separation', our tax system must move with it."

See: These small business owners are still making it work, coronavirus and everything

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