With the government strongly encouraging active travel as a way to avoid public transport, and provision of £ 2 billion in liquidity To increase cycling infrastructure, now is the perfect time to consider purchasing a bicycle to get to work.

An outright purchase can get expensive, although many brands offer finance to distribute the cost. But using a Cycle to Work program is a great way to both spread the cost of the bike and save a lot of money – between 32% and 47% of the purchase price.

The Green Commute Initiative (or GCI) is a social enterprise that seeks to provide a more flexible and profitable bicycle shopping experience through more than 1,500 bicycle stores and direct-selling brands while providing the tax benefits of Cycle to Work.

What is the Green Commute initiative?

The GCI is a Cycle to Work Program which seeks to avoid some of the constraints of other options. There is no £ 1,000 limit on spending, allowing you to purchase a wide range of bikes. It also offers variable repayment periods and does not charge an end-of-stay fee for owning the bike.

Like other Cycle to Work programs, GCI uses wage sacrifice, where the cost of the bike is deducted directly from your payslip over a number of months, saving you and your employer money. income tax and national insurance. See below for more details on how it works.

What is the goal of the Green Commute initiative?

According to the program’s website: “The Green Commute Initiative is a social enterprise whose vision is to get commuters out of the car and any type of bicycle, with the dual objective of improving both health and the well-being of the individual, as well as reducing the environmental impact. pollution and traffic jams caused by cars. We do this through our cycle-work program.

He continues: “We want more people on bikes. Why? Think of a world where there is less traffic jams, less pollution, less congestion on public transport and more parking spaces for motorists. A world where employees become healthier, happier and more efficient.

What types of bikes does the Green Commute Initiative cover?

The Green Commute initiative covers all types of bikes, from road bikes to cargo bikes.
Simon bromley

Anything, if it’s legally designated as a bicycle. So this not only includes road bikes, folding bikes and hybrids, but also electric bikes, Mountain bike, gravel bikes, cargo bikes and specialty bikes too.

The Green Commute initiative puts a lot of emphasis on e-bikes for their extra push over hills and longer journeys, as well as their commuter-friendly appearance. He points out that you can wear your work clothes because you won’t be as hot when riding, and you won’t be limited by train and bus schedules, social distancing, and delays.

How is GCI different from other Cycle to Work programs?

The original Cycle to Work programs had an upper limit of £ 1,000 for authorized spending. If you were starting from scratch and wanted another kit, such as lights, a helmet, tools and one waterproof jacket, that meant your remaining allowance limited you to fairly low-end machines.

Government guidelines on the new work cycle have been published in June 2019 to make it easier for employers to provide bicycles and equipment worth over £ 1,000, provided the required financial driving authority is obtained. Otherwise the limit remains at £ 1,000. Employers can also choose to impose their own limit.

The Green Commute initiative is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, so there is no price cap of £ 1,000. This lets you check out more expensive options like flashier road bikes and Brompton records. It also puts e-bikes at your fingertips, most of which cost over £ 1,000. For people with disabilities or reduced mobility, the device can also be used for specialized or adapted bicycles.

Don’t go too far though, GCI has an upper limit of £ 10,000 and can veto an expensive package. It is also worth buying insurance because you will still be responsible for payments if the bike is damaged or stolen.

Unlike other programs, there is no exit fee if you want to own the bike (except for an additional £ 1 to meet tax requirements). For example, CycleScheme charges you seven percent of the cost of the bike after three years of owning it.

How does the Green Commute initiative work?

What is the Green Commute initiative?  How to buy a duty free bike worth over £ 1,000

The GCI is a Cycle to Work program that allows you to purchase a tax-free bicycle through your employer.

GCI has its own Financial Conduct Authority license, which allows it to offer credit over £ 1,000.

Technically, you rent the bike from GCI for the duration of the agreement, when ownership then transfers from GCI to the rider. GCI says its program has been reviewed by a “big four” accounting firm and found to comply with HMRC rules.

He says that with wage sacrifices, the savings on the price of a bike could be as high as 47% and that he doesn’t charge an exit fee when the deal ends.

In addition to the bike itself, like other Cycle to Work programs, you can add any accessories and other kits you need.

How to apply for the Green Commute initiative?

First you need to go talk to your bike retailer and figure out what bike and kit package you want and how much it costs.

If your employer is not registered with GCI, you use the Instant GCI online form to generate a pro forma invoice for the package, which you must submit to your HR department.

Some employers, typically those with more than 1,000 employees, are already registered with GCI, in which case there is a separate corporate GCI page that routes your request directly to your human resources department.

You will get a wage sacrifice agreement and a rental contract to sign electronically. Once done, GCI pays the retailer and emails you a voucher that you take to the store with photo ID to collect the bike.

What is the advantage?

The employer pays GCI to cover the cost of your voucher, then deducts the cost of the bike and kit from your gross pay, usually over 12, 18, or 24 months, saving you income tax and national insurance.

Depending on your tax rate, this can be 32%, 42%, or 47% of the list price of the bike and kit. Some employers may charge you interest on the loan, which reduces the amount you will save.

There is also a financial benefit to your employer, which will usually save on the employer’s contributions to national insurance.

If you want to keep the bike, there is another free loan agreement between you and CGI for six years of driving, at the end of which you can own it for £ 1. It is an arrangement designed to meet HMRC’s tax requirements.

How many bicycle shops are affiliated with GCI?

What is the Green Commute initiative?  How to buy a duty free bike worth over £ 1,000

Over 1,300 bicycle shops are registered with the Green Commute Initiative.
Allan McKenzie / SWPix.com

GCI says you can use any of over 1,300 bicycle shops across the UK, from local bicycle shops to multi-chain retailers.

There is a fairly good spread, with the map of online retailers showing Penzance stores in Stornoway, as well as retailers in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Use the store finder on the Green Commute Initiative site to find a registered bicycle store near you.

Can I use GCI to buy from a direct selling brand?

Yes, a number of direct selling brands have joined GCI.

This includes heavy weights such as Canyon, YT Industries and Ribble, as well as niche brands such as Mason Cycles and Temple Cycles. Specialists in the direct sale of electric bicycles are also represented, such as VanMoof and Cowboy.

There is a list of available direct selling brands on the GCI website. To order from a direct selling brand, you must first ask them to provide a quote for your preferred ride or to place an order. You then apply for financing from GCI by mentioning the manufacturer’s order reference number.

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