Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (132, 145, 147, 152)

Martin Kenny

Question:

132. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Finance if the Revenue Commissioners will amend the way in which it taxes benefit-in-kind for company cars for 2021 due to the fact that Covid-19 restrictions are preventing companies and employees from travelling for business and the mileage in company cars will be greatly reduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2215/21]

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Dara Calleary

Question:

145. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance if the Covid-19 concessionary arrangements in place for the treatment of company cars via benefit-in-kind have been extended into 2021; and if so, the arrangements for same. [2469/21]

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Marc MacSharry

Question:

147. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Finance if clarity will be provided on the benefit-in-kind treatment for tax purposes for company cars for 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2516/21]

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Michael Ring

Question:

152. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance if the interim measure on the reduction in benefit-in-kind rates on company cars will be extended into 2021. [2631/21]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132, 145, 147 and 152 together.

In March 2020 Revenue introduced a short-term concessionary measure in relation to the operation of benefit-in-kind (BIK) on employer-provided vehicles having regard to the unprecedented situation arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The concessionary treatment applicable to BIK on employer-provided vehicles, along with all other COVID-19 related measures, is kept under regular review by Revenue. In early December 2020, and as the public health restriction at the time began to ease and businesses reopen, Revenue confirmed that the concessionary measure related to employer-provided vehicles would cease to apply on 31 December 2020 and, with effect from 1 January 2021, BIK on same should be calculated in the usual manner.

However, since then, Level 5 public health restrictions have been subsequently introduced. On 24 December 2020, all restaurants, cafés and gastro pubs as well as personal services, such as hairdressers, beauticians and barbers closed, while hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs remain open but are restricted to essential non-social and non-tourist services only. Additionally, on 31 December all non-essential retail as well as gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools closed. For employees, the public health advice is to work from home in all instances unless work is an essential health, social care or other essential service that cannot be done from home.

Having regard to the current public health restrictions Revenue confirmed in eBrief 004/2021, which issued on 14th January 2021, that the short-term concessionary measures announced back in March will remain in place. This means that, for the time being:

- Where an employer takes back possession of the vehicle and an employee has no access to the vehicle, no BIK shall apply for the period.

- Where an employee retains possession of a vehicle, but the employer prohibits the use of the vehicle, no BIK shall apply if the vehicle is not used for private use.

Records should be maintained to show that the employer has prohibited its use and no such use has occurred, for example communication from employer, photographic evidence of odometer, etc.

Where an employee has a car provided by his or her employer and

1. the circumstances in the previous example don’t apply,

2. limited or reduced business mileage (if any) is undertaken due to the COVID-19 crisis, and

3. personal use is limited

the amount of business mileage travelled in January 2020 may be used as a base month for the purposes of calculating the amount of BIK due. Thus, the percentage applied in the calculation of the cash equivalent, which is based on annualised business mileage, may have regard to the actual business mileage for January 2020, for the current period of the COVID-19 restrictions. Appropriate records should be kept, for example business mileage travelled in January, amount of private use, photographic evidence of odometer etc.

Guidance on the above and other COVID-19 related matters can be found on Revenue’s website*.

Due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic it is not known how long any COVID-19 restrictions will ultimately remain in place. Revenue will however continue to regularly review all COVID-19 related matters (including the provisions relating to BIK on employer-provided vehicles) and if any further measures are considered necessary in the future, updated guidance will be made available by Revenue in relation to same as soon as possible.

*https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/communications/covid19/compliance-with-certain-reporting-and-filing-obligations.aspx