Ticketscheme FAQ's

All the most common questions answered, and a few less common ones too.

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What is Ticketscheme?

The Tax Saver Ticket scheme exempts employees and directors from benefit-in-kind taxation where an expense has been incurred by an employer on the provision of an annual bus, train, Luas or ferry pass for the employee or director which operate within the State in respect of journeys which begin and end in the state. The exemption does not extend to car parking charges and does not allow the purchase of combined travel pass ticket which includes car-parking charges.

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Who purchases the ticket?

For the benefit-in-kind exemption to apply the employer must purchase the commuter ticket for the bus/train or ferry pass and the employee will repay the amount and make their Income Tax, PRSI and USC savings via Salary Sacrifice Deductions. It will not be sufficient for an employee to purchase a pass and recover the cost from the employer

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What is a Salary Sacrifice Agreement?

What is a Salary Sacrifice Agreement?

Similar to the Cycle to Work scheme, an employer and employee may enter into a Salary Sacrifice Agreement whereby the employee agrees to forego part of their salary to cover the costs of the purchase of the bike and/or safety equipment.  In such circumstances the employee will not be liable to pay Income Tax, PRSI or USC on the salary foregone.  Salary sacrifice must be completed over a maximum of 12 months from the date of provision of the bicycle and/or safety equipment. The salary sacrifice period can range from anything between 1 – 12 months and is at your employer’s discretion.

 

As part of your application to the Tax Saver Travel Ticket scheme you will be required to sign a Salary Sacrifice Agreement, which will be a bona fide and enforceable alteration to the terms and conditions of employment - exercising a choice of benefit instead of salary. 

Please note:

  • There is no entitlement to exchange the benefit for cash.
  • The choice exercised (i.e. benefit instead of cash) cannot be made more than once a year and then only with the consent of the employer.
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How are the savings made?

Savings are made because salary sacrifice reduces the Gross salary – before any Income Tax, PRSI or USC has been deducted – so the amount of Tax, PRSI and USC paid is less than usual.

Sounds confusing?

Here’s an example of how the savings work during the salary sacrifice period, assuming the following:

 

  • Employee is paid monthly
  • Employee is a standard rate tax payer requesting a travel ticket at €1,550
  • The salary sacrifice period is 12 months
  • The Employee’s monthly gross salary is €2,000.00 (€24,000 per annum)

 

Here is an example of how the savings* work:

 

 

Salary before scheme participation

Salary during scheme participation

 Monthly Gross Salary

 €2,000.00

 €2,000.00

 Ticket Value

 Gross salary sacrifice total

  

 €1,590.00

 €1,590.00

 Monthly Gross Salary Sacrifice = €1,590 /  12months (this amount appears on the  salary sacrifice agreement)

 

 €132.50

 Monthly Gross Salary after salary sacrifice

 Monthly PRSI and USC

 Monthly Income Tax

 Net Salary

 €2,000.00

 €175.00

 €400.00

 €1,425.00

 €1,867.50

 €163.41

 €373.50

 €1,330.59

 Monthly Net Salary Reduction

 €1,425 - €1,330.59 =

 €94.41

 Monthly Saving

 €132.50 - €94.41 =

 €38.09

So, because you pay less tax, PRSI and USC your NET salary reduction is less than the GROSS salary reduction, and this is how savings are achieved. In the example, the employee makes a €132.50 contribution to the employer, but it only costs the employee €94.41, resulting in a saving of €38.09 per month.

*The above guide highlights the Average Employee Saving of 28.5-48.5% with an assumed marginal rate of 4.5% for USC & 4% for PRSI.        

The maximum saving for the Cycle to Work Scheme is 52% for employees earning over €70,045                

Please note this example is for guidance purposes only and is not to be construed as tax advice

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What kind of savings can I expect to make on my commuter expenses?

Savings vary depending on the type of ticket you choose and on your income band.  You can save up to 52% on the retail price of the ticket (typical savings are equivalent to 28.5%-48.5%) the precise amount depends on your personal tax band. 

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Am I eligible?

All Employees and Directors of companies that choose to participate in the Tax Saver Ticket scheme are eligible to take part, as long as the commuter tickets are applied for and provided by the Employer, although some companies may only allow Employees who have completed their probationary period and who have a minimum of 12 months left on their contract to apply.

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What can I purchase through Ticketscheme?

You can purchase an annual travel ticket pass for approved operators for bus, train, Luas and commuter ferry services, which operate within the State.

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Can I buy an annual ticket and then claim the tax back from the Revenue Commissioners?

No, all annual tickets must be purchased by your employer on behalf of the employee as per Revenue Guidelines. 

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How long does the scheme last for?

The salary sacrifice reductions can take place over a maximum of a 12-month period and is at the discretion of the employer.

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What are the limits?

There is no limit on the price of the tickets purchased as long as the ticket is used by the Employee primarily for commuting purposes. 

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How often can I get a ticket through the scheme?

Employees can request a ticket annually provided their original payment term is complete.

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Are the commuter tickets transferable?

No, the tickets cannot be transferred to another person, as they can only be used by the individual who received the tax benefit. 

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Can I avail of both the Ticketscheme and Cycle to Work scheme?

Yes. These schemes are not mutually exclusive.

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Are there any fixed dates on which tickets are valid?

Annual tickets are valid for one year commencing the first day of the following month from receipt. 

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Ownership – Who owns the ticket?

All tickets and Leap Cards remain the property of the travel service providers and are subject to the company’s Conditions of Carriage and Customer Charter.

You have a legal obligation to pay back the employer the full purchase price over the 1-12 month period.

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Your Responsibilities During the Salary Sacrifice Period:

  • you must retain possession of the Ticket and use it mainly for commuting, although use for other secondary purposes is permitted;
  • once the Ticket has been delivered to you, ownership of the Ticket will remain with the relevant Company but you will be responsible for any loss of or damage to the Ticket, which subsequently occurs. 
  • you are strongly advised to obtain suitable insurance that will cover you for costs you will incur if you need to replace a lost, damaged, or stolen Ticket.
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Can I opt out of the scheme if I no longer wish to participate?

Once you have obtained your Ticket and subject to the terms and conditions of the Company providing the Ticket, you may be able to cancel and return your Ticket to the Ticketscheme administrator.

Steps to Cancel your Ticket:

  1. You will need to contact the Ticketscheme administrator via info@cyclescheme.ie to advise your wish to cancel your Ticket.
  2. Upon confirmation from the administrator that you are eligible to cancel your Ticket, we may request for your Ticket to be returned via post (this depends on what type of ticket you have.)  You shall bear the cost of returning the Ticket.
  3. The administrator will contact the relevant Ticket Supplier  regarding cancellation – tickets can only be cancelled from the 1st of a month
  4. The administrator will advise your employer of any outstanding Salary Sacrifice repayments and will advise you when the ticket will cease being valid

 

Luas:

  • Luas only refund on a case by case basis
  • There is a €12.00 admin charge on all refunds.  Only full months remaining are valid for refund
  • All tickets must be returned to the Tax Saver Ticket Scheme administrator by registered post/courier by no later than the 3rd of the month. 

 

Iarnród Éireann/Dublin Bus:

  • Please note that Annual Tickets are based on a 10 month rate with 2 months free and this discount is withdrawn if the ticket is cancelled so the refund/credit is based on the regular monthly rate by the number of months used – this will be reflected in your remaining salary sacrifice repayments
  • Some tickets will be required to be returned to the Tax Saver Ticket Scheme administrator by registered post/courier by no later than the 3rd of the month.  

Bus Éireann:

  • Annual Point-to-Point Tickets are based on 47 weeks with five weeks free. A discount of 1 month is withdrawn if the Ticket is cancelled.  The refund is calculated by the number of months unused minus the 5 weeks that was originally discounted.
  • Some tickets will be required to be returned to the Tax Saver Ticket Scheme administrator by registered post/courier by no later than the 3rd of the month. You will be advised by the administrator if your ticket is required to be returned.

 

Balbriggan Express 191 and Swords Express:

  • You cannot opt out of either of these tickets
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What happens if I leave or am dismissed from my position while my Ticketscheme ticket is still valid?

If you leave, retire or are made redundant before the salary sacrifice has finished, you will need to settle the full outstanding balance with your employer before you leave and any amount that remains outstanding at the date of termination will be deducted by the Employer from your final net payment. 

Alternatively you can choose to cancel your ticket, as per the cancellation information set out in ‘Can I opt out of the scheme if I no longer wish to participate?’

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Can I use the scheme to purchase a ticket for a family member?

No. You are only allowed to get a commuter travel ticket for yourself.  You will be required to sign a Salary Sacrifice Agreement declaring that the ticket will be for your use only. 

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What happens if I go on maternity/paternity/adoptive leave?

If you go on maternity/paternity/adoptive leave during your Salary Sacrifice period, any remaining Salary Sacrifice amounts will continue to be taken from your salary as long as you have the sufficient funds available. The Salary Sacrifice period cannot extend over any longer than a 12-month period under any circumstances.

Alternatively you can choose to cancel your ticket, as per the cancellation information set out in Can I opt out of the scheme if I no longer wish to participate?’

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What happens if I am absent from work?

If you are absent from work during the Salary Sacrifice period any outstanding payments will continue to reduce any pay you receive which your Employer is legally permitted to do.

If you are temporarily not in receipt of Eligible Pay but you remain an employee of the Employer, so as to allow for the Salary Sacrifice to continue, then one of two options may apply - either your payments under this agreement will need to be made via an alternative arrangement and will be agreed with your employer at the time or (at your employer's discretion) your Employer may choose to suspend reductions until you begin to receive sufficient Eligible Pay again although the suspension cannot put your Salary Sacrifice payments over the 12 month Salary Sacrifice period.

Alternatively you can choose to cancel your ticket, as per the cancellation information set out in ‘Can I opt out of the scheme if I no longer wish to participate?’

However in all circumstances:

  • if within 12 months from the start of the Salary Sacrifice Period, any payments under this agreement have yet to be made, the full balance (i.e. the total of all payments yet to be made) will become payable to your Employer. Your Employer may seek to deduct this from any future net salary payments due to you or, if the Employer decides otherwise, you may be required to pay the outstanding balance to your Employer within 14 days of request.
  • In all cases the Salary Sacrifice Period will not exceed 12 months from the start of the agreement.
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What happens if my ticket is lost or stolen?

If at any time during the Salary Sacrifice Period, your Ticket is lost or stolen, or damaged to the point of no longer being usable, you will still be responsible for making any remaining Salary Sacrifice payments due under your Salary Sacrifice Agreement, and you will be required to report the loss, theft, or damage to the Ticketscheme administrator via email to info@cyclescheme.ie who will provide you with the relevant information for obtaining a replacement.

 

Any replacement passes issued under the Scheme for lost, stolen or damaged Tickets will be subject to the following provisions:

  1. you must immediately report the lost or stolen Ticket to the Gardai
  2. you must report lost or stolen Tickets immediately to the Ticketscheme administrator via email at info@cyclescheme.ie providing written details of the circumstances around the loss, theft or damage of your Ticket
  3. the Ticketscheme administrator will provide you with a letter on headed paper to you via email which you will need to bring to the Ticket supplier
  4. you will need to pay a replacement fee directly to the relevant Ticket Company. Charges vary from provider to provider but examples of current charges are listed below
  5. if your ticket is damaged Ticket it must be returned to the Ticket Supplier before a request for a replacement can be considered

 

Replacement Ticket Prices:

  • Iarnród Éireann tickets are replaced at a cost of €15.00
  • Bus Éireann Zonal tickets are replaced at a cost of €15.00
  • Dublin Bus and Dublin Bus & Luis combined tickets are replaced at a cost of €15.00
  • Luas only tickets are replaced at a cost of €12.00

 

You will need to go to the below locations to collect your new/temporary ticket:

 

Rail only, Rail/Luas, Rail/Dublin Bus/Luas and Rail/Dublin Bus:

Iarnród Éireann offices at Connolly Station, Black Door on the corner of Amiens Street and Sheriff Street, Dublin 1.  Office Hours: 9am – 5pm

Dublin Bus only, Dublin Bus/Luas, Rail/Dublin Bus:

Dublin Bus offices at 59 Upper O’Connell Street, Dublin 1.  Office Hours: 9am-5pm

Bus Éireann only:

Bus Éireann Regional Manager’s office, Busáras, Store Street, Dublin 1.  Office Hours 9am – 5pm, closed for lunch 1pm – 2pm.

Luas only:

Please contact the Luas team on 01 461 4915 or by emailing taxsavers@luas.ie

 

Please note: The ticket will be re-issued minus the months/days already used.

 

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Should I insure my ticket?

You are strongly advised to obtain suitable insurance that will cover you for costs you will incur if you need to replace a lost, damaged, or stolen Ticket

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Where can I find a list of what tickets are available and their prices?

Just visit www.cyclescheme.ie/tax-saver-ticket-scheme/ticket-options and you will see the full list of annual tickets, services and prices that are available via the scheme.

 

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Why do I have to provide a digital photo?

A digital photo is required by the Ticket Providers, as it will be added to your Commuter Ticket.  The digital photo must be passport standard and be no larger than the (images must be no bigger than dimensions 320 x 416).   Please note that your application cannot be processed without the digital photo. 

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Obtaining the Ticket

Once you have processed your application which includes selecting your Ticket type, value, uploading/providing your digital photograph, signed your Salary Sacrifice Agreement and obtained confirmation that your application to participate in the scheme has been accepted by the application date deasdline for that month, we will then process your application and get approval from your employer.  We will purchase your ticket if your application is approved and your employer has paid for it and you will be provided with a Ticket for the route and value that you applied for prior to the 1st of the month that the ticket is valid from.  The Ticket will be sent to your work address via post.

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What happens if I select the wrong ticket during my application?

We advise you to take time to ensure you select the correct ticket option you require, as supply of incorrect tickets to you will require cancellation and will lead to delays and/or reduction of discounts/benefits to you. Please visit he Ticket Options page for further details of the tickets.

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What happens if my Annual travel ticket will not work in the machines?

Rail only, Rail/Luas, Rail/Dublin Bus/Luas and Rail/Dublin Bus:

Contact the supplier first so they can check your ticket.  If required Tickets can be replaced at the Iarnród Éireann offices at Connolly Station, corner of Amiens Street and Sheriff Street, Dublin 1.  Office Hours: 9am – 5pm

Dublin Bus only, Dublin Bus/Luas, Rail/Dublin Bus:

Contact the supplier first so they can check your ticket.  If required Tickets can be replaced at the Dublin Bus offices at 59 Upper O’Connell Street, Dublin 1.  Office Hours: 9am-5pm

Bus Éireann only:

Contact the supplier first so they can check your ticket.  If required Tickets can be replaced at the Bus Éireann Regional Manager’s office, Busáras, Store Street, Dublin 1.  Office Hours 9am – 5pm, closed for lunch 1pm – 2pm.

Luas only:

Please contact the Luas team on 01 461 4915 or by emailing taxsavers@luas.ie

 

 

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