Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Questions (69)

Michael McNamara


67 Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Finance if he received reports of abuse to the cycle to work scheme; with the alleged abuse relates to people purchasing items, other than bicycles, from bicycle shops and recording these items as bicycles in their application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32588/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

I am aware of recent reports of possible abuse of the cycle to work scheme. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the process of administration of tax reliefs and schemes, which is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners.

I am however, advised by the Revenue Commissioners that from time to time random checking is carried out on particular reliefs and schemes to ensure compliance with the conditions of the scheme or relief. Audits take place in cases where Revenue's risk profiling indicates a need for a specific intervention. Revenue's main focus is to select cases for intervention based on various risk indicators and other information available and these can include intelligence from a range of sources and from third party information.

The types of offences that are most likely to be prosecuted include use of forged or falsified documents and facilitating fraudulent evasion of tax. Investigations with a view to prosecution may be undertaken where a supplier knowingly or wilfully issues or produces any incorrect invoice, receipt, instrument or other document in connection with any tax. Where any employee knowingly or wilfully furnishes any incorrect information in connection with any tax they will be investigated with a view to prosecution.

Participating employers do not have to notify the Revenue Commissioners of their involvement in this scheme — but must have a signed salary sacrifice agreement from employees, stating that the bicycle is for their own use and will be used for travelling to and from work. The onus is on employers to maintain appropriate records (delivery dockets, invoices, payments details, etc.).