Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Questions (46, 74)

Holly Cairns

Question:

46. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Finance his views on expanding the reach of the bike-to-work scheme to include students, jobseekers, those on disability allowance or doing unpaid work; and his further views on increasing the €1,000 limit to include e-bikes, cargo bikes and non-traditional bikes such as tricycles, handcycles and other modified bikes appropriate for those that require same due to physical capacities. [9386/20]

View answer

Seán Sherlock

Question:

74. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Finance the amount of applications under the cycle to work scheme in 2019 and to date in 2020. [8759/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 46 and 74 together.

I am advised by Revenue that section 118(5G) of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides for the cycle to work scheme. This scheme provides an exemption from benefit-in-kind where an employer purchases a bicycle and associated safety equipment up to a maximum of €1,000 for an employee to use, in whole or in part, to travel to work. Safety equipment includes helmets, lights, bells, mirrors and locks but does not include child seats or trailers.

The scheme applies to pedal cycles and pedelecs. A “pedal cycle” means a bicycle or tricycle which is intended or adapted for propulsion solely by the physical exertions of a person seated thereon. A “pedelec” means a bicycle or tricycle which is equipped with an electric motor (with a maximum continuous rated power of 0.25 kilowatts) which cuts out when a speed of 25 kilometres per hour is reached, or sooner if the cyclist stops pedalling the bicycle or tricycle.  

It is assumed that the reference to “cargo bikes” by the Deputy means a bicycle specifically designed to carry a load. Such a bicycle would qualify under the cycle to work scheme, assuming all of the required conditions are satisfied.

Benefit-in-kind is a charge to tax that applies where an employer provides an employee with a benefit such as a bicycle, car or accommodation. As stated above, an exemption from benefit-in-kind applies in relation to the cycle to work scheme, provided the required conditions are met. However, where an employment does not exist, for example, in the case of students, individuals in receipt of social welfare payments or unpaid volunteers, such individuals can’t qualify for the scheme.

Further information on the cycle to work scheme can be found on Revenue’s website, available at https://www.revenue.ie/en/jobs-and-pensions/taxation-of-employer-benefits/cycle-to-work-scheme.aspx .

In relation to the amount of applications received, the scheme operates on a self-administration basis, and relief is automatically available provided the employer is satisfied that the conditions of their particular scheme meet the requirements of the legislation. There is no notification procedure for employers involved. This approach was taken with the deliberate intention of keeping the scheme simple and reducing administration on the part of employers.

Accordingly, there are no records available on the number of people availing of the scheme.