Green travel allowances
There are a number of schemes intended to encourage employers to make arrangements for their staff to travel to work by more environmentally beneficial means. These include the following:
Employers may provide employees with free bicycles (on loan) and related safety equipment to be used mainly for the purpose of cycling to work.
The exemption extends to the provision of a secure parking arrangement for bicycles and the provision of showers for those cycling to work.
At the end of the life of the bicycle, the employee can retain it provided he pays the estimated market value of it at that time.
Capital allowances would normally be available to the employer on the purchase of the bicycles and equipment.
Works bus service
This scheme is designed to allow employers to provide tax free home to work travel by bus service. There are two ways of organising the arrangements.
Minibus or bus provided by the employer
The employer may provide a bus service for staff, but this must be available to all staff.
The bus must have a minimum of nine seats, and can be used for home to work travel. The main use of the bus must be by employees (and their children), but the bus may also be used to transport staff to a nearby shopping facility at lunchtimes are after work, provided the main use remains commuting and transport between workplaces.
Capital allowances would be available on the purchase of the minibus.
Subsidised public bus services
The employer may instead subsidise public bus services used by employees.
The facility to travel by subsidised public transport (which is limited to road transport) must be available to all staff, and must be a local bus service.
The subsidy may be provided through the purchase of season tickets which are given to staff.
Payments for travel for business journeys by bicycle provided by the employee can be made at a rate of 20p per mile but not in relation to home to work journeys.
Employers can also encourage staff to car share on business journeys by making tax free payments of up to 5p per mile for each passenger for whom the journey is qualifying business travel.
A pool car provided for staff to use on business journeys is not taxable as a benefit in kind, and can be used to ensure that staff use economical and environmentally friendly transport where public transport is not available or appropriate.
Cars emitting CO2 at a specified level are taxed on rates varying from 9% to 37% of the list price.
Emissions for petrol cars from 0 to 50g/km are taxed at 9% between 51 and 75g/km at 13% and 76 to 94g/km at 17% of list price. Electric cars have zero emissions and are therefore now included in the lowest band.
Cars running solely on diesel fuel are currently subject to a 3% supplement.