State passes tax incentive for teleworking

Published: Apr. 4, 2011 at 5:53 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2011 at 9:15 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Do you wish you could do your job from home? That could happen now that there's a new state tax credit for companies that let their employees telework.

Once a week, Sam Young, President of technology consulting firm Astyra Corporation, works from home. So do many of his employees.

"It cuts down on costs for them and it is something that is a morale booster for the entire company," said Young.

Teleworking reduces traffic, pollution and can cut costs for the company and the employee.

"There's the obvious benefits to the employee in terms of reduced commuting costs, reduced commuting time, better work life balance," said Jennifer Alcott, Telework Virginia Program Manager.

The state just passed a new tax credit for businesses that start telework programs for their employees in 2012 and 2013. Employees often need special work equipment at home, such as computers, software programs, or phones. Those are expenses for the company. That's what the tax credit is for.

Companies can take a state tax credit of up to $1200 per employee who teleworks, depending on how many days they work from home, for a maximum total deduction of $50,000. The state capped the aggregate amount of this tax credit that can be claimed at $1 million.

The Telework Virginia program, which also offers financial reimbursements for equipment costs, says 10% to 12% of Richmond area workers telework. The overall rate has increased about 40% over the last three years. Employees typically work one or two days a week at home.

Many supervisors fear workers won't really do their jobs at home, but research found that's usually not the case.

"A good employee is a good employee no matter where they're sitting," Alcott said.

"In some employees, we noticed a significant increase, so overall we had more productivity and everybody was happier," added Young.

Happier, and Young says more loyal. "It endears you to the company, makes you feel like you're part of something that is meaningful and the company cares about you enough to have that flexibility."

Governor McDonnell has encouraged state agencies to allow their employees to telework and President Obama signed the Telework Enhancement Act in December to increase teleworking among federal employees.

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