It’s not often that tax news gets so many attention-grabbing headlines. While the proposed – and then quickly scrapped – GST on Kiwisaver fees was hogging the limelight, the introduction of another tax measure has received much less fanfare; the removal of Fringe Benefit Tax on public transport. Read about it here.
Why’s this important? Effectively, this can become an untaxed benefit that employers can provide to employees. This means that the cost to the business giving the benefit is less than it would cost the employee to secure the benefit for themselves. We think this is a great idea for a few reasons. First off, we’re based in Auckland where there are geographical constraints, financial constraints and ‘political will’ constraints to catching up on the shortage of infrastructure, so removing cars from the congested roads will help everyone get where they are going faster. Secondly, at a time where fuel prices are at eye-watering highs, public transport is increasingly attractive. Third, Fringe Benefit Tax can be costly to administer – removing such a compliance cost is a good thing. Finally, public transport is better for the environment than taking the car. So a win all round.
If you’re an employer, look at whether offering public transport passes would be an attractive benefit to your team. And if you’re an employee, shake down your employer to add public transport passes as part of your remuneration.