Europe has launched a war against urban pollution. And, although the star measure is usually subsidize public transportmost cities are promoting the bicycle as a means of transportation. As we have commented in Xataka through dozens of articles, each country is launching initiatives that range from paying workers who cycle to the office to giving them tax breaks. In fact, Belgium You already pay per kilometer traveled in this way and you can thus get up to 1,000 euros a year. In France the sum reaches up to 800 euros.
In Spain, that a similar initiative ends up arriving is not crazy. The government wants to change tax regulations for companies to consider cycling as earned income (as with company cars), but the Treasury and Transport indicate that there is still a long way to go in this matter.
The plan. The Government wants to promote the bicycle to move to work. in his campaign By bike to workincluded in the State strategy for the bicycle, proposes to modify the tax regulations to include cycling to work as income, that is, that it forms part of the salary, something that right now only happens with cars. In other words, that companies pay a bonus to employees who come to the office by bike, as is already done in some countries.
Of course, this help would only be given if, at least, 50% of the use of the bike is destined to go and return to work. But the big problem is that applying such an initiative would require a modification of the current legislation, something quite complicated.
What can we expect? In Spain everything will remain, for now, in simple promotional campaigns. Although there are those who are pushing for at least some objectives to be achieved. The Mitma wants, for example, that companies acquire bicycles to lend them to their employees. And the cycling entities propose a flexible remuneration for the purchase of bicycles. Until now, there is a 40% discount on the purchase of cars as a flexible remuneration, but not for bikes.
Among the Executive’s ideas there are also incentives for employees who adopt this means of transportation instead of the private motor vehicle, reaching agreements with companies to offer them discounts on their purchases. But the reality right now in Spain is that only large companies (more than 500 employees) are required by law to draw up sustainable mobility plans to work.
national examples. The Liberty Seguros company is one of the pioneers in Spain in paying its employees for cycling to work. “We pay 0.37 cents to our employees for going by bike. We started in 2016 and since then 109 employees have been welcomed, to whom between that year and 2020 we paid 85,236 euros for covering some 219,000 kilometers,” said a spokesperson in this EL PAÍS article. However, since the advent of teleworking, the plan has been on the decline.
Follow the trail of Belgium. The country has been applying a plan for a year according to which workers who go to their job every day by bike receive a subsidy of up to 25 cents per kilometer. This amount is paid by the State through company payrolls and does not have taxes. And if any company decides to pay more than those 25 cents, they must pay taxes for it. What does it translate to? If you do 20 kilometers a day, it would be about €1,050 annual.
In the case of the self-employed, it works like a tax deduction. And, in general, to that payment per kilometer it adds the possibility of being able to obtain a retribution in taxes of 7% of the purchase value of the bicycle.
The trend in Europe. But Belgium has not been the only country to follow this sustainable mobility model. France has also experimented with state support for employees who commute by bike and electric vehicles. Companies can voluntarily participate and pay up to €800 per year to each person who uses these modes of transport. Later, the companies deduct it from their taxes and social contributions. Besides, the country offers aid to exchange old cars for electric bicycles.
In Italy there are aids to buy a new bicycle (€150 for a conventional one and €250 if it is electric), and also it was announced the payment of €0.20/km to those who use it to go to work, with a limit of €25 per month. Something similar to the program Cycle to Work Scheme British, which includes a series of tax incentives for companies and workers. Both of them get tax deductions and discounts on their Social Security contribution for buying or renting bikes.