This fact sheet explains how the tax and national insurance systems encourage employers to set up Travel Plans for their employees. A Travel Plan is a package of practical measures to reduce car use for journeys to and from work and for business travel.
Where an employer helps employees to get to and from work, such as by providing petrol or season tickets, these benefits are normally taxable. But there is no tax or NICs to pay if an employer offers:
A works bus (a bus or coach seating 12 or more passengers) or minibus (seating 9 passengers or more) can be made available to employees to transport them to and from work. Any number of employers can join together and provide a works bus or minibus service for their joint workforces. As long as the vehicle is used mainly for commuting or travel between workplaces, employees and their families can use it occasionally for other trips.
Some employers pay subsidies to finance a public transport service that is useful to the employer, for example one that stops outside the factory gate.
If an employer pays such a subsidy to a local public bus service to transport employees to and from work, there is normally no tax or NICs to pay as long as the service is available to all employees.
Employers can offer their employees a free or low-interest season ticket loan up to £5,000 per year. There is no tax or NICs to pay provided the full amount of the loan is repaid to the employer and total loans outstanding do not exceed £5,000 at any time.
Employers can lend cycles or cycling safety equipment to employees to travel to and from work. Employees can also use them for leisure as long as the main use is for commuting.
Employers can provide parking facilities for employees’ own vehicles at or near the workplace tax free.
If an employee who normally shares a car has to go home early because of a domestic emergency, the employer can pay the cost of the journey home. There will be no tax or NICs to pay if the circumstances could not have been anticipated or planned for.
Please note: this fact sheet is for guidance only and reflects the position at the time of writing.
Version date: November 2005