There is “no logic” to plans from Deutsche Bank economists proposing that people working from home should be taxed, according to some in the industry.
In Konzept, a periodical published by Deutsche Bank's research department, analyst Luke Templeman says: “For years we have needed a tax on remote workers – Covid has just made it obvious.
“Quite simply, our economic system is not set up to cope with people who can disconnect themselves from face-to-face society.
“Those who can work from home receive direct and indirect financial benefits and they should be taxed in order to smooth the transition process for those who have been suddenly displaced.”
Templeman says “some will argue against the tax” but “these people should remember that governments have always backsolved taxes to suit the social environment”.
He points out: “When it was socially unpalatable in the UK to introduce an income tax, the government implemented a window tax. As society changed, the window tax was abolished and, eventually, an income
tax was introduced. In the same way, as our current society moves towards a state of ‘human disconnection’, our tax system must move with it."
But others do not agree.
Angela Love, director at Active Workplace Solutions, said: “There is simply no logic to Deutsche Bank’s proposal to tax people working from home between lockdowns. Where were these suggestions when people were working remotely pre-pandemic?
“Homeworkers are not makeshift units to be taxed, they are real people who have gone through an awful lot of upheaval in 2020. I completely support searching for measures to help vulnerable jobs but taxing home workers is not the way. You have to also consider the reasons why some people are working from home. Some will have their own health reasons, others may share a property with someone who is vulnerable therefore won’t risk the commute.
“Whilst we can’t deny that some workers and demographics have wonderful settings in their homeworking environment in order to work productively, others do not. Yet, despite that, they will continue to work from home to keep them and others safe and that’s admirable. Taxing them for making that call is wrong. Even after Covid-19, some people will still work from home, regardless of whether they actually want to or not. Punishing them for it will only deepen the wound financially and emotionally and this will result in other major long-term effects.”
A Deutsche Bank spokesman told Facilitate that this was “not a proposal coming from Deutsche Bank as an institution, but rather a thought experiment” from its research department.
He also clarified that the proposal was not suggesting to tax people who are forced to work from home because of the pandemic but people who voluntarily choose to work from home after Covid-19.