Q Can you clarify whether the bike-to-work plan is available for remote workers? I used to work on site in Dublin’s Dockland pre-Covid-19, but I recently heard from my employer that I would be offered the option of long-term remote working if I wanted to continue. I was going to use the bike-to-work plan before the pandemic, but didn’t get around to it. Now I am worried that I will not be able to apply more as I am not technically coming to office for work.
A The current position of revenue commissioners seems to imply that employees who now work from home may still be eligible for the scheme. However, according to Barry Cahill, director of financial advisory firm Taxback.com, more clarification is needed on this point. Revenue currently states that you have to use your bike for the whole or part of your commute to work, and outside of that you can use the bike for leisure. However, it does not specify how much you must travel in the year or how much you must travel to and from work, which is a potential sticking point in terms of the scheme’s application for remote workers, Mr. Cahill said. The revenue also states that workers working from home can take advantage of the scheme if the cycle is used for work-related travel – things like taking office supplies or work-related equipment, etc. to the post office or city. Will definitely be counted among you. Here’s the favor, as well as the occasional office commute, if your distance from it is permitted.
Mr. Cahill said his understanding is that yes, in many cases, remote workers should be able to take advantage of the scheme and we are looking forward to a clarification from the very first revenue. The tax advisor said that self-employed remote workers, who are not currently eligible for the scheme, can invest in bikes for work purpose in a cost-effective manner, by applying for relief in capital allowance.
Q I am 30 years old and work for myself in healthcare. I want to start a pension, and want to know how do I go about it and who do I get advice from?
A Starting a pension is one of the best financial decisions you can make, according to Glenn Gauhran, financial advisor at Independent Trustee Company. There are many tax-efficient pension options open to you as a self-employed employee. He said that primarily you should focus on Individual Pension Plans (PPP) and Individual Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSA). The difference between the two ultimately comes down to your level of control and participation 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 the investment. Fees and the range of investment funds to choose from, Mr. Gauharan said. There is some red tape and some important decisions to be taken while setting up the pension. That means your best first step would be to contact a financial advisor who specializes in pensions, he said. Such a consultant will be able to guide you through the entire process and help you make an informed choice as to what suits you best.
Q We both are in mid 70s and we have health cover plan, company plan extra plan. We are about to upgrade our vi soon. We have been advised that the plan we are on will be replaced with Company Plan Xtra Level 2, and we are curious to know if this plan will be a good fit for us. It’s hard to understand when reading the contents of what’s on offer, what plan to go with, or what to do.
A According to Dermot Good of leading health insurance brokerage TotalHealthCover.ie, Company Plan Xtra Level 2 is a good option because it includes excellent refunds on a range of eligible outpatient expenses. He said this would increase your cost to €1,868 per year. He added that there is another version of this plan, called Vi from Company Plan Xtra Level 1 €1,760 per adult, which is also worth considering. If you don’t mind taking a slightly higher amount of €75 per claim, you can also consider the Vhi PMI 4810 plan at €1,657 each. Finally, if you’re open to switching provider, you can also consider the Irish Life Health 4D Health 4 plan for €1,637 per adult or the LAYA principle plan for €1,608 per adult, he said.