State tax credit helps cover IT costs of telecommuting programs

Telecommuting has plenty of benefits for both businesses and employees. Here’s another way letting employees work from home can help some organizations.

The Virginia state government is now offering tax breaks to businesses with employees who work remotely.

Legislation passed this year allows businesses to receive up to $1,200 in tax credit per employee, with a maximum of $50,000 per company. The tax breaks cover qualified expenses related to getting employees set up for telecommuting, including IT costs such as laptops and other devices, software, VPN clients and other security tools, and modems, routers, and other networking equipment.

To receive the credit, employers in Virginia must apply by Oct. 31. For more information, click here.

Virginia joins other states such as Georgia, Maryland and California in offering tax breaks to off-set the costs of setting up telecommuting programs. Legislation such as this is gaining popularity among governments, because getting more more employees to work from home reduces traffic congestion and pollution, increases productivity, and allows people to spend more time with their families.

On the federal level, the Obama administration has championed telecommuting and passed legislation expanding telecommuting opportunities for federal employees.

Telecommuting benefits businesses by creating happier, more productive employees and making it easier to recruit and retain people.

There are some significant costs involved, though, especially for the IT department. To avoid serious security risks when employees work from home, experts recommend installing VPNs, firewalls and other tools. Also, depending on what technology an employee has already, companies may choose to provide high-speed Internet access, computing equipment and other items.

Does your organization have employees who telecommute? What level of work or expense is required on IT’s part? Let us know in the comments section below.