What is the purpose of the scheme?
The purpose of the scheme is to encourage more employees to cycle to and from work, or between work places, thereby contributing to lowering carbon emissions, reducing traffic congestion and improving health and fitness levels.
How do I pay for the bicycle?
Usually your employer pays the supplier for the bicycle and sets up a ‘salary sacrifice’ arrangement from your salary over an agreed time frame (which cannot be more than 12 months). This generally means that you visit the shop, select the equipment you wish to buy and have the shop invoice your employer directly for the cost. Note that the tax exemption does not apply if you pay for the bicycle and are reimbursed by your employer – they must pay for the bicycle.
The repayment for the bicycle and equipment is then deducted from your gross salary (this means before income tax, PRSI, pension levies or Universal Social Charge are deducted). These deductions can be made weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on your salary payment arrangement. Your employer can also buy the bicycle on your behalf and not require you to pay for it.
How often can I use the scheme?
You can only avail of the scheme once in a four-year period. This applies even if you do not purchase equipment up to the €1,500 limit. The tax year in which the bicycle or equipment is provided counts as the first year.
You must use the bicycle and safety equipment mainly for qualifying journeys. This means the whole or part (for example between home and train station) of a journey between your home and your normal place of work. Employers do not have to monitor this but you will be asked to sign a statement saying that the bicycle is for your own use and will be mainly used for qualifying journeys.