If you’re currently working from home like most of the nation, you might be wondering what you can do long term to make your home office situation better. 

Laptop wires, monitors and office chairs taking over your kitchen table? We hear you. Finding yourself in the same quick-pack-away routine at dinner time? Shielding your computer keyboard from baked bean juice? Constantly in fear of finding important papers in a bath of orange squash? We see you. 

We could all do with being able to differentiate between work life and family life in order to find balance in our work days. Not only for ourselves but the other people in our households too. So it’s no wonder many business owners are looking into the wooden cabin option. 

The trend of garden offices is on the rise, and it could be the answer to your working-from-home prayers. But there’s a lot to consider before you go to build. We’ve covered some of the most important technical and financial considerations here. For all other inspiration, Pinterest!


Do some research first to see whether you’ll need planning permission 

More often than not, you won’t need planning permission to build your garden getaway. You shouldn’t need planning permission if your garden office is going to be:

  • Single storey only
  • No taller than 2.5m high 
  • Flat roofed

However, in some cases planning permission can apply depending on:

  • The materials you plan to use
  • The position it’s going to sit in your garden
  • If you live in a listed building

As long as you do some thorough research and adhere to the set of conditions under the planning laws, you should be fine. It may also be beneficial to contact your local authorities in the local planning department and request some advice, just to be 100% sure.

You may also want to bear in mind that some local authorities may charge business rates if you are running your business from a garden office.  


If you are VAT registered, you may be able to claim back VAT on the garden office

As long as your business is VAT registered, you should be able to claim back VAT on some or all of the cost of your garden office and its contents. This includes heating, furniture and equipment. 

However, if your business is on the VAT Flat Rate Scheme then you can only claim back VAT on capital goods that cost over £2,000 in a single purchase.

The VAT you can claim should be restricted depending on the expected personal use of your garden office.


When you sell your home you may need to pay capital gains tax on your garden office

This is the case if the office is solely used for business purposes. If your garden office is for family use as well as work use, you may be able to avoid it. After all, the end of the garden is a great place to send your teenagers when they invite their friends round for a sleepover! 

Just note, if you’re going to use your cabin for more than daily office work, you may want to make it fit for purpose by installing smoke detectors and other safety features. 


What can you offset against your profits for corporation tax purposes

As with everything, whether you can offset the cost of your garden office against corporation tax depends on whether you meet certain criteria. The normal rule of thumb is that you can’t claim the cost of the structure including planning, building and installation. 

However, any business equipment purchases can be classified as a capital expense and will qualify for capital allowances. 

This may even include the costs of plumbing, thermal insulation, and even some of the electrical wiring. If in doubt, check!


As with everything, do your research before spending your money

Hopefully this blog has you on the right track as you consider a more permanent space for your work in the wild of your garden. 

Do note that although we try to give you the factors you’ll need to think about here, each business and individual will have different and unique circumstances. So please do your research before stretching those purse strings. And do feel free to talk to us about your specifics, and subsequently send us pictures of your build!