New in 2019: Ecological Subsidies for Ecological Means of Transport

From Jan 1st 2019 on some in ecological matter interesting changes have taken place in taxation laws – some of them easier, some  more difficult to understand and somehow even confusing from the first sight.

Job Tickets Tax-free

From this year on employees have the chance to get a tax-free public transport ticket from their employers – a political decision in order to subsidize public transport. This tax-free amount reduces the „Entfernungspauschale“ (tax-deductable lump sum of costs for ways between home and first place of work – 0,30 €/km of distance).

Business Bicycle

If you as an employee get a bicycle that can also be used for private purpose, from 2019 to 2021 the taxable advantage of allowance of private usage is set tax-free (§ 3 no. 37 EStG) and the advantage also does not infuence the Entfernungspauschale (see above). An electric bicycle (Pedelec) with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h is considered a bicycle. Although this is only valid until 2021, this regulation can be seen as an ecological success.

Fun fact: If you increase the maximum speed of pedal assistance over 25 km/h on your own, in the worst case you could make yourself liable to tax evasion – because „bikes“ like these are considered a motor vehicle which use for private purpose is not tax-free. You should preferably avoid trying this, also as it is your employer’s bike and not your own.

Also the advantage of private usage of a company bike by self-employed persons is not going to be taxed within the years 2019 bis 2021 (§ 6 section 1 no. 4 sentence 6 EStG).

„Bicycles that are Motor Vehicles“

This seems to be a bit crazy: In Germany and other countries within Europe there are bicycles which are considered a motor vehicle: electric bicycles with pedal assistance up to 45 km/h, so called „s-pedelecs“ (S stands for „speed“) – this type of vehicle is definitely a bicycle but by law is taxed like a small motorcycle and therefore also has got a sign on the back.

Although s-pedelecs are not treated like bicycles but like electric motorcycles, their owners or employees who may use this type of bike can profit from new tax regulations for the promotion of electric vehicles: The private usage of Electric vehicles that have been purchased within the period from 2019 to 2021 is taxed with half the ordinary amount – also usage for ways between home and work is taxed with 50% only.

The big difference between s-pedelec and bicycle: The private usage of bicycles could again be taxed from 2022 on – the advantage of 50% taxation of private usage of s-pedelecs stays valid for s-pedelecs (and electric cars as well as electric motorcycles) bought within the period from 2019 until 2021.