How To Save Tax By Buying a bike through your business

You could save thousands in tax buying a bike through your company

Written by 
Updated on
March 1, 2024

Summary: 

What it is: HMRC allows companies to buy bikes and safety equipment and lend them to the directors and other employees of the company free of charge with no taxable benefit in kind. 

Approx tax saved: This can save you thousands in tax if you were going to buy a bike anyway. In this example, we show how you can save £2,503 in tax. Actual savings will vary depending on your individual circumstances. 

HMRC reference: https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/employment-income-manual/eim21664

Here’s how it works: 

Companies are allowed to buy bikes and safety equipment and lend them to the directors and other employees of the company. 

For the benefit of doubt, according to HMRC Employment Income Manual EIM21664 bicycles can also include electrically assisted pedal cycles such as a VanMoof (or other reputable brands). 

Safety equipment includes things like helmets, bells, child safety seats, panniers, locks, pumps, repair kits and reflective clothing. The only things that do not count as safety equipment are cycle computers, waterproof clothing that is not reflective and cycle training.

The best part is that the company can treat these costs as ‘capital expenditure’ and therefore qualify for 100% tax relief, provided that the bike is loaned to the employee (you) for free and not leased or hired to them.

This is a HUGE benefit if you’re a director of your own limited company and are thinking about buying a bike. It can literally save you thousands. 

How the tax saving works: 

Buying the bike personally

Let’s assume you want a fancy new e-bike that costs £2,500 plus VAT at 20%, that’s a total of £3,000. 

If you wanted to make this purchase personally and are already a higher rate dividend tax payer, you would need to take a further £4,528 of dividends out of the company so that after paying £1,528 of Income Tax at 33.75%, you would be left with the net £3,000 you need to buy the back. 

So, in effect, the total cost if you buy the bike personally would be £4,528. Make sense so far? Good. 

Buying the bike through the business

On the other hand, if the company buys the bike, the first thing it will do is recover £500 in VAT, leaving a net cost of £2,500 on which it can claim Corporation Tax relief. 

In this case, let’s assume you pay 19% corporation tax - giving you total corporation tax relief of £475 (£2,500 x 19%). 

This means the net, after tax, cost of the bike is now just £2025. vs £4,528 if buying it personally. 

To be exact, that’s a 55.2% saving - equivalent to £2,503 of tax saved. The difference is phenomenal! 

The rules: 

If that saving isn’t enough, according to HMRC Employment Income Manual eim21664 this benefit will also be exempt from Income Tax and National Insurance providing:

  1. The bicycle is loaned and not given to the employee.
  2. The bicycles and equipment are available generally to all employees if they want to start cycling. If you’re a company director and the only employee in your company, this still counts.
  3. The employees use them mainly for “qualifying journeys'

Unlike driving a car to work, qualifying bike journeys do include journeys between your home and workplace. 

They also include journeys on a normal working day from your workplace to shops and other amenities where the return journey is no more than 20 miles.

Even better, the bicycle can also be used for pleasure purposes, including by members of your family, providing this is not the main use of the bicycle.

To make things easy, employees are not expected to keep detailed records of their journeys and HMRC will not challenge whether you are entitled to the exemption, unless there is clear evidence to suggest that less than half of the use of the bike or equipment is on qualifying journeys. 

How do you claim this in Mighty? 

Claiming this allowance in Mighty is incredibly easy. Mighty will automatically claim all corporation tax and VAT relief for you (if you’re VAT registered). 

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