ATO rules e-bikes a tax-deductible expense - like a novated car lease

Did I miss this at the time (looks like it was made almost a year ago)? Earlier today I found out the ATO has made a ruling classifying e-bikes (and only e-bikes) as having the same tax-deduction status as a novated lease car. 

Some other info here. IANATA but the inference is you can lease an e-bike and its running costs from pre-tax income (but pay FBT on any personal use component).

Why e-bikes only I don't know, possibly as this was specifically what they were asked to rule on. But imagine if they ruling was widened to include all bicycles...

I haven't read the ruling in full, I won't get in to the debate as to whether e-bikes are "real" bikes or not (I don't care, I don't want or need one but if you do that's great and if it gets you out of a car and riding however someone else wants to classify your machine, then that's a good thing), but I think  we can all agree e-bikes aren't cars, so this new ruling on their novated lease-ability is interesting.

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Some people just don't pay attention. You might have seen it on this obscure site?
http://www.sydneycyclist.com/forum/topics/salary-sacrifice-e-bike

I didn't (mind you said site has been a little obscure to me in the last year), but then I didn't see it when I used the same site's search function either. But then we all know how efficient the ning search is (either returns n'ing as in nothing or "everyth-ning"...)

Yes , it was a fairly brief discussion, easily missed

Interesting, does it mean it covers travel to&fro work?

Opps... specific to novated lease.... of course it does.

Like how every novated lease motor vehicle is being offset by all tax payers

Same comment as I made in the above obscure site in that the ruling is very narrow and only applies to the specific scheme that made the application. Tax accountants / lawyers will have to advise us if it has any more general application, do we have any of those?

I'm not an accountant but use one or two every year for personal and business taxation. It's probably useful to glean some points and use those to inform us more generally.

I don't think you have to plough through the whole ruling to get the gist: the first 4 pages cover the Commissioner's decision.

So, for the purpose of FBT there's no car benefit or property benefit to worry about. But there is a residual fringe benefit to consider, so there may be an FBT hit (to the employer which may or may not be passed on). The ruling goes on to explain that this FBT will be avoided if the personal use is restricted, or if not then it will be proportional either on the basis of kilometres or costs. I imagine 'costs' means tyre and brake wear principally, not a whole hell of a lot until possibly battery change time.

More widely I am sure we can assume that using a non-leased non-electric bicycle for work purposes also offers deductions, and I am sure couriers here for instance would confirm. Consumables worn while riding for work would surely count, and I daresay the bike purchase would be dealt with via a depreciation schedule just as is done for my computer.

To extend this just a little, because we can put our bikes on some public transport, similar thinking will be applied to work use of Opal cards. I keep it simple by having two, one for me and one for work. Thus there's no concern about free use of opal for which there might be a residual benefit that attracts FBT.

If you have only one, and claim the work trips for reimbursement that's clearly no worries either. If work provides an Opal card and you use it personally, such as for your commute, then there might be an FBT concern though.

There is a start-up company in Melbourne doing just that. Maybe you should ask them why just e-bikes and not all bicycles.

http://www.e-stralian.com.au/

 

That is the promoter of the scheme referred to in the ATO ruling which presumably they asked for.

Yes without a ruling that can not offer the product!

I wonder if you need to do a number of long trips like those who lease cars do to reduce their FBT liability?

I think ATO did away with that.

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