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Top Cyclescheme tip


It's essential to stay fit and since riding to work is (for those on city commutes) quicker than driving it makes an ideal opportunity to excersize.

A bonus is that it also saves you money on transport (and a gym membership, winner).

Cyclescheme

The Cycle to Work Scheme is an annual tax exemption initiative introduced in 1999 as part of the Government’s Green Transport Plan. It allows employers to loan bicycles and safety equipment to their employees as a tax free benefit. Essentially it allows you to purchase a bike and accessories over a 12 month period by way of salary sacrifice.

Either your employer or one of several companies can act as administrator, the biggest and best known being Cyclescheme. 700 are affiliated to Cyclescheme, the Bike2Work scheme, WorkRiders, CyclePlus and Bikes for the NHS; we also accept Halfords Vouchers. In most cases the administrators issue you with a Certificate that can be exchanged for a bike and any safety equipment at 700.

What’s the process?

  1. Your employer must be registered with the scheme. More information on becoming a Cyclescheme affiliate is available at www.cyclescheme.co.uk
  2. Visit the 700 store in Windsor, choose a bike and accessories and get a quotation.
  3. Apply for your certificate online using the Cyclescheme website, your employer may need to fill out a hire agreement also at this point.
  4. Once approved a certificate will be issued to you or your employer, depending upon which was stipulated at the time of application.
  5. Exchange the certificate for the bike.
  6. After 12 months the employer will offer you the opportunity to purchase the bike at its fair market value.

Who can participate in the scheme?

There is no minimum or maximum company size necessary to sign up to the scheme. Eligible employees must: be paying PAYE, earn more than the National Minimum Wage after salary sacrifice, and have a contract that does not end during the hire period. Employees who earn close to the National Minimum Wage following salary sacrifice may wish to discuss with their employer the option of loan or pool bikes. There is no credit check for employees wishing to participate.

What is salary sacrifice and how are savings made?

Salary sacrifice occurs when an employee agrees to give up part of their salary for an agreed period (in the case of the Cycle to Work scheme this is usually 12 months) in exchange for some kind of non-cash benefit, such as the loan of a bicycle and safety equipment, As salary sacrifice is taken from the gross salary (before tax) rather than net pay it means the employee pays less income tax and National Insurance. Employers that can reclaim VAT usually pass this saving on to their employees, which increases savings further. Employers also save on Secondary Class NICs (usually around 12.8%) as the amount they’re paying in wages is also lower. See www.hmrc.gov.uk/specialist/salarysacrifice.pdf for a more detailed explanation.

What are the savings?

Typical savings are between 40% and 50%, but the actual amount depends on the employee's personal tax band and the way the employer runs their scheme. Higher rate taxpayers will save more, employees whose company cannot reclaim VAT (the NHS, for example) will save less. If the employer uses external finance (ie, borrows the money to buy the bikes from an outside agent) then savings will be approximately 5% lower.

What bikes are available?

Employees can choose any bike - including folding bikes and other specialist cycles. If the employer wants to supply bikes costing over £1000 (retail price including VAT) they will need to purchase an individual Consumer Credit Licence, so many employers limit the package value to £1000 including VAT. Please note that obtaining bikes for friends and family is not permitted; the bike must be for the employee.

Please Note: Sale bikes are subject to a 10% of voucher total charge. For example: a sale bike purchased with a £1000 voucher will be subject to a £100 charge. Please note that Halfords Cycle to Work vouchers will attract a 15% charge on sale purchases.

Can a bike be provided by mail order?

700 is capable of supplying bike packages by mail order. Please note that any delivery fees for mail order bikes must be paid for outside of the scheme (ie, they do not qualify for tax relief).

Who actually owns the bike?

The bike and related goods remain the property of the employer throughout the hire period, unless the employer uses a finance company to fund the bikes; in this case the finance company or funding bank will own the bikes.

Who is responsible for maintaining the bike and what happens if it is stolen?

It is the employee's responsibility to maintain the bike. 700 will be able to advise about maintenance and servicing depending on how the bike is used - don't forget we do offer a free first service. If the bike is stolen the employee will be liable for any outstanding monies without any tax exemptions, so it's very important that employees insure the bikes. Safety equipment including Home Office-approved 'Sold Secure' D-locks and cable locks can be obtained as part of the scheme.

What's the best way to insure the bike?

Household policies are usually the cheapest option but employees must ensure that the insurer covers the bike when in storage away from your home, and that the bike's value doesn't exceed the upper claim limit. If the bike can't be covered on a home insurance policy, we recommend Cycleguard (www.cycleguard.co.uk) for insurance (they offer Cyclescheme customers a 10% discount).

Does the bike have to be used for commuting?

Employees should use the bike mainly for commuting to and, if relevant, between work places (at least 50% of the bike’s use should be for work purposes). However, the bike can also be used for non-work purposes and there is no need for employers to monitor individual usage or for employees to keep a mileage log. Please note that employees cannot claim business mileage allowance with a bike obtained under the scheme as the bike belongs to the employer.

What happens at the end of the hire period?

At the end of the hire period employees may be given the opportunity to buy the bike for a full market value, however this cannot be an automatic entitlement. The cost of full market value cannot be stated before or during the hire period as this could be considered a benefit in kind and therefore not be eligible for tax benefits. Many employers opt for Cyclescheme to take ownership of the bikes at the end of the hire term, in which case any offer sale to the employee will come directly from Cyclescheme.

What happens if an employee leaves their job or is made redundant?

Once signed, the Hire Agreement is non-cancellable following a cooling-off period of seven (7) working days after collection of the goods. This means that if an employee leaves or is made redundant from their employment during the hire period they are obliged to pay the remaining salary sacrifice amount in full from net pay i.e. without any tax exemptions.

For further information please see the Department for Transport's Cycle to Work implementation guide.

If your employer is registered with Cyclescheme and you would like a quote then please email us at sales@7hundred.co.uk or for further information on the scheme itself then please visit www.cyclescheme.co.uk.

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