Telework. There's No Place Like Home.
Meet Telework Tech
Telework Tech is the wise crack'n computer and tech expert of the team who, with his collection of Hawaiian shirts, is truly the definition of the word "relaxed". When he is not on the clock, he can be found surfing the net, updating his online blog, or playing video games. He is the member of the team most likely to be late to a meeting at headquarters, or fixing chocolate chip pancakes during a conference call. Although he likes to play, Tech is a genius and his contributions to the team are extremely valuable; he is a whiz when it comes to putting Telework programs in place and making them work.
Teleworking means working away from a central workplace, either at home or another alternate work location, all or part of the week. A telework program gives selected employees and managers the option of working off-site on a full-time, part-time, or even temporary basis.
How formal or informal your telework arrangement is depends on your company and employee needs. Some teleworking arrangements require nothing more than a phone line, while others involve a full home office setup. How simple a telework arrangement is depends on the company's business needs.
Benefits of Teleworking:
- Productivity. According to the International Telework Association and Council, on average, teleworking yields a 22% increase in employee productivity.
- Continuity. A key component in developing a business continuity plan in the event of bad weather, a pandemic, or any other crisis that closes the central office location for any period of time.
- Sustainability. Enhanced green business practices with fewer cars on the road.
- Quality of life. Enhanced work/life balance.
Business Telework Tax Credit
The purpose of the Telework Tax Credit is to remove auto trips by reducing commutes to and from work. Only employees who travel to an office in Virginia qualify. In the tax year a business receives approval for the Virginia Tax Credit, the first six months are devoted to telework assessment expenses up to $20,000. This is when the company's telework policies are developed, including a telework agreement. Beginning in July, the business will implement the program with new teleworkers signing the agreement. The company may claim a tax credit of $1,200 in expenses per new teleworker. Expenses for existing teleworkers do NOT qualify for the tax credit. Businesses interested in the tax credit for telework expenses must submit a Telework Expenses Tax Credit Reservation Application (Form TEL-1 pdf) with the Department of Taxation.
The legislation provides for a tax credit of up to $1,200 per employee, up to $50,000 per organization, for eligible telework expenses incurred during taxable years 2012-2016. Any business subject to income tax in Virginia is eligible to apply for the tax credit.
What steps do I need to take to apply for the tax credit?
Step 1: Submit a Telework Expenses Tax Credit Reservation Application form (TEL-1) to the Virginia Department of Taxation between September 1 and October 31 in the year proceeding the calendar year in which eligible telework expenses will be incurred.
The Virginia Department of Taxation will provide tentative approval by December 31. If the applications for the credit exceed the $1 million cap authorized by the tax credit legislation, the credits will be allocated to business taxpayers on a prorated basis.
Step 2: Submit a Telework Expenses Tax Credit Confirmation Application form (TEL-2) to the Virginia Department of Taxation by April 1 of the year following the calendar year that eligible expenses were incurred.
Forms TEL-1 and TEL-2 and further instructions on tax credit approval can be found on the Department of Taxation's website, www.tax.virginia.gov.
For more information, visit www.teleworkva.org.
Click here to read individual company case studies:
The Presbyterian Outlook
RideFinders serves as a resource center for program development at employer sites. RideFinders also provides technical assistance and financial incentives to employers who are considering the establishment of a telework program or for those employers who already have informal telework programs. For more information, call RideFinders at 804-643-7433 or 800-693-7433, or visit www.teleworkva.org.
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