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Who is eligible for the tax exemption?
Employees are eligible for the exemption through the participation of their employer, who must operate the scheme. The cost of the bike can be funded either directly by the employer or through a salary sacrifice arrangement with the employee. If the bicycle is purchased directly by the employer, it can be claimed as a tax exempt benefit in kind. Where it is financed via a salary sacrifice, the employee saves on income tax, levies and PRSI.
How does it work?
The employee chooses the bicycle and equipment he or she wants and the employer purchases the on his or her behalf. Tax relief is available on purchases up to a maximum value of €1,000.
When does the exemption begin?
The scheme, which was introduced by the Green Party in the 2008 budget, came into operation on 1 January 2009.
What sort of equipment is covered by the scheme?
Tax relief is available on a wide range of cycling gear and equipment – pretty much everything you would need. This list includes helmets, lights, locks, bells, mirrors, cycle clips, panniers, luggage carriers & straps, pumps, puncture repair kits, cycle tool kits, reflective clothing and reflectors.
Is there a limit to the number of employees in a company who can participate?
Once an employer agrees to participate, there is no limit to the number of employees who can avail of the scheme. However, the scheme can only be used by an employee once every five years.
Why is the scheme being brought in?
The Government is trying to encourage commuters to give up the car for shorter journeys. In Dublin, a city well suited to cycling, only 3-4% of commuters cycle to work. By contrast, in Copenhagen over one third of commuters get to work on the bike. More people cycling to work reduces traffic congestion, improves fitness levels and reduces our carbon dioxide emissions.
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