Q Can you clarify if the bike-to-work scheme is available for remote workers? I used to work on site in Dublin’s Dockland’s pre Covid-19, but I recently heard from my employer that I will be granted the option of longer-term remote working if I would like to continue with it. I was going to use the bike-to-work scheme before the pandemic but didn’t get around to it. Now I am worried that I won’t be able to apply any more as I am technically not commuting to the office for work.
A The current position from the Revenue Commissioners does seem to imply that employees who now work from home could still be eligible for the scheme. However, greater clarification is needed on this point, according to director of financial advisory firm Taxback.com Barry Cahill. Revenue currently states that you have to use your bike for all or part of your journey to work, and that outside of this you can use the bike for leisure. However, it does not specify how many journeys to or from work you must take over the year, which is a potential sticking point in terms of the scheme’s application for remote workers, Mr Cahill said. Revenue also states that employees working from home can avail of the scheme if the bicycle is used for work related journeys – so things like trips to the post office or to town to collect office supplies or work-related equipment etc. would certainly count in your favour here, as well as any occasional commutes into the office itself, if this is permissible given your distance from it.
Mr Cahill said his understanding is that yes, in many cases, remote workers should be able to avail of this scheme and we are hoping for clarification from Revenue before long. For self-employed remote workers, who are currently not eligible for the scheme, they can invest in a bike for work purposes, in a cost-effective way, by applying for capital allowances relief, the tax adviser added.
Q I am 30 years old and work for myself in healthcare. I would like to start a pension, and would like to know how I go about it and who would I get advice from?
A Starting a pension is one of the best financial decisions you can make for yourself, according to financial adviser Glenn Gaughran of the Independent Trustee Company. There are several tax-efficient pension options open to you as a self-employed worker. He said that primarily you should be looking at Personal Pension Plans (PPPs), and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs). The difference between the two ultimately comes down to the level of control and involvement you have in your retirement savings fund and what investments you are interested in. Within PRSAs you also have standard and non-standard PRSAs, and the main differences here revolve around investment charges and the range of investment funds to choose from, Mr Gaughran said. There’s a bit of red tape and some important decisions to make when setting up a pension. This means your best first step would be to contact a financial adviser who specialises in pensions, he said. Such an adviser will be able to guide you through the entire process and help you make informed choices as to what best suits you.
Q We are both in our mid 70s and have health cover plan, Company Plan Extra Plan. We are due to renew our Vhi soon. We …….