Fianna Fáil TD for Laois Sean Fleming has said a process must be put in place to capture data related to the Government’s Cycle to Work Scheme in order to prevent some people scamming the system.
The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohue TD confirmed to Deputy Fleming this month that Revenue has no capacity or procedure in place to monitor the Cycle-To-Work Scheme and as a consequence no data is available to determine how many bicycles have been subsidised by the taxpayer.
“As an incentive to commute to work by bike, the Government’s cycle to work tax initiative is designed to allow employees claim a bicycle and safety equipment up to €1,000 once every 5 years, said Deputy Fleming.
“It is rather astonishing to think that there is no system in place to monitor the number of bicycles being bought under this scheme and the subsequent cost to taxpayer. As it stands, employers are not obligated to notify Revenue when an employee(s) avails of the scheme.
“For a number of reasons, the provision of this initiative is important especially for the promotion of exercise but there’s no explanation why it isn’t being appropriately regulated.
“No one can determine if this scheme is working effectively, fulfilling its objectives or if the system is in fact being ripped off altogether.
“Various reports have been brought to my attention in recent times. Not only are some employees claiming several times every 5 years, they allege their bike has been lost, stolen or damaged and reapply for a new one. Surprisingly, an employer is not required to verify this.
“I have also been made aware of some people obtaining a number of bicycles under the scheme, receiving the €500 tax reduction for each one but then selling the bicycle on sale online for a profit.
He concluded, “Taxpayers should be able to expect that this initiative is operating efficiently but without basic data relating to the scheme we cannot assume that the scheme is being utilised properly.”