Saturday 19 October 2019

Company bike scheme could end up costing keen cycling commuters

 Photo: DutchNews.nl

The government’s plan to introduce company bikes alongside company cars sounds like a good idea, but could leave some workers considerably worse off, broadcaster NOS said on Thursday.

From January workers will be able to use a lease bike provided by their company for a couple of euros a month – the cost of taxing the new perk. However, they will also lose the right to travel expenses if they accept the offer, the broadcaster said.

Currently people who cycle to work can claim travel expenses of 19 cents a kilometer, but they will lose that right if the bike is provided via their employer.

Under the new company bike scheme, someone issued with a €2,000 electric bike by their employer will have to pay income tax on 7% of the value, or €140. That boils down to around €5 a month.

But that has to be offset against the travel expenses they could claim of, say €5.70 a day for a 30 kilometre round trip.

Cycling union Fietsersbond is urging people to do their sums before they opt for a bike from their employer and accountants are already warning that the new system could be unlucky for some, particularly people who already cycle to work every day.

Spokesman Martijn van Es said the administration needed will make the scheme unattractive for small firms.

Trains

The situation is even more complicated for people who cycle to the station and then pick up the train. They will have to keep a careful log of when they use the company bike, so that the taxman can assess how much of its value needs to be added to their income tax return.

‘I can imagine there are some employers who say “I gave you a company bike, so I am not paying travel expenses as well,’ Jan-Bertram Rietveld from accountancy group EY told NOS.

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