Q Can you clarify if the bike to work program is available for teleworkers? I used to work locally in Dublin Dockland prior to Covid-19 but have recently heard from my employer that I will be given the option of longer term remote work if I wish to continue with this. I wanted to use the bike-to-work program before the pandemic, but didn’t get around to it. Now I’m worried that I won’t be able to apply anymore as technically I don’t commute to the office for work.
A The Revenue Commissioners’ current position seems to imply that employees who are now working from home could still be eligible for the scheme. However, more clarification is needed on this point, according to director of financial advisory firm Taxback.com, Barry Cahill. The tax authorities currently state that you must use your bicycle for all or part of your commute to work and that you can use your bicycle outside of that for leisure. But it doesn’t say how many trips to or from work you’ll need to make over the course of the year, which is a potential sticking point in terms of the scheme’s application to remote workers, Mr Cahill said. The earnings also indicate that employees who work from home can take advantage of the program if the bike is used for work-related commutes – so things like trips to the post office or into town to buy office supplies or work-related gear, etc .
Mr Cahill said his understanding was that in many cases remote workers should be able to take advantage of this scheme and we hope to have clarification from the Inland Revenue shortly. Self-employed teleworkers who are currently ineligible for the program can affordably invest in a bicycle for work by applying for a capital deduction relief, the tax adviser added.
Q I am 30 years old and I am self-employed in healthcare. I would like to start a pension and would like to know how to do this and who I can get advice from?
A According to financial advisor Glenn Gaughran of the Independent Trustee Company, starting an annuity is one of the best financial decisions you can make for yourself. As a self-employed person, you have several tax-efficient pension options. He said that your primary concern should be Personal Pension Plans (PPPs) and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs). The difference between the two ultimately comes down to how much control and ownership you have of your retirement fund and what investments you are interested in. Within PRSAs there are also standard and non-standard PRSAs, and the main differences here revolve around investment fees and the range of mutual funds to choose from, Mr Gaughran said. There is a bit of bureaucracy and some important decisions to make when setting up an annuity. So the best first step would be to consult with a financial advisor who specializes in pensions, he said. Such an advisor can guide you through the entire process and help you make informed decisions about what suits you best.
Q We are both in our 70’s and have a health insurance plan called the Company Plan Extra Plan. We will renew our Vhi soon. We have been advised that the plan we are on will be replaced by the Extra Level 2 corporate plan and are curious to see if this plan would be suitable for us. It’s hard to understand when reading the content of the offer which plan to go with or who to join.
A Company Plan Extra Level 2 is a good alternative as it includes excellent reimbursements for a range of eligible outpatient expenses, according to Dermot Goode from leading health insurance broker TotalHealthCover.ie. He said it would increase your costs to €1,868 per year. There’s another version of this plan called Vhi’s Company Plan Extra Level 1 for €1,760 per adult that’s also worth considering, he said. If you don’t mind taking a small deductible of €75 per claim, you can also consider the Vhi PMI 4810 program for €1,657 each. Finally, if you’re willing to switch providers, you might also consider Ireland’s Life Health 4D Health 4 program at €1,637 per adult or the Laya Principle program at €1,608 per adult, he said.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/does-the-bike-to-work-scheme-apply-to-people-working-from-home-41648401.html Does the bike-to-work rule also apply to people who work from home?