Revenue announced that the following BIK concessions will be reinstated due to the re-introduction of the Level 5 public health restrictions in December 2020.

Small Benefit Exemption

During 2020, Revenue offered a concession whereby an employer was permitted to provide multiple vouchers to frontline or other key employees who worked during the period of the Covid-19 crisis, once the aggregate total did not exceed €500 (i.e., an employer was permitted to give a qualifying employee 2 or more vouchers at different times during 2020, but the aggregate total could not exceed €500).

This concession has been reinstated and applies to employees who continue to work during the restricted period.

Company Vehicles

The concessions which were in place in 2020 in respect of company vehicles (cars or vans) continue to apply.

No BIK will apply for the duration of the period where:

  • An employer takes back possession of the vehicle and the employee has no access to it, or
  • An employee retains the vehicle, but the employer prohibits use of the vehicle and there is no private use of the vehicle.

Where an employee retains a company car during the Covid-19 pandemic and

  • limited or reduced business use (if any) occurs, and
  • personal use is limited,

the amount of business kilometres travelled in January 2020 can be used for the purpose of calculating BIK for the period of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Appropriate records should be retained in all circumstances such as photographic evidence of the odometer, communications from employer, business travel in January 2020, as applicable.

Use of Cars by Employees in the Motor Industry

Special rules apply for determining the taxable BIK arising for an employee in the motor industry who has frequent changes of company cars. These rules do not apply where the employee has use of a specific car(s) for a period(s) of 1 month or greater. During 2020, Revenue concessionary allowed these rules to continue where the employee was prevented from changing the car at least once per month due to Covid-19.

This concession continues to apply.

Payment of Taxi Fares

Where an employer pays for a taxi to transport an employee to or from work due to health and safety concerns, BIK will not apply for the duration of the Covid-19 period.

Employer Provided Accommodation

Due to health and safety concerns arising from Covid-19, an employee may be provided with temporary accommodation by his or her employer to mitigate against potential transmission risks.

Revenue are prepared to accept that a taxable BIK will not arise during the period of the Covid-19 crisis where the accommodation is temporary in nature and the reason is to mitigate against the risk of transmission (e.g. where an employee returns from an overseas trip and requires self-isolation, or where there is a concern of transmission to other frontline staff members/workers residing in the same household).

Flu Vaccination and Covid-19 Testing

A taxable BIK will not arise in respect of costs incurred by an employer in providing Covid-19 testing in the workplace or providing Covid-19 test kits to employees. Similarly, a taxable BIK will not arise where an employer pays for flu vaccinations to be carried out on employees or reimburses employees for the cost of the vaccination. Employees can claim tax relief for the flu vaccine if they incur the cost themselves.

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