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Discounted rail passes for part time commuters.

  • 21-06-2021 10:58am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 68 ✭✭✭ Help2


    I see in England they are offering discounted rail passes for part time commuters. See BBC article linked below.

    New flexible tickets go on sale for part-time commuters

    Any talk of this happening in Ireland, to cater for those moving to a hybrid in office/at home working pattern?

    Presumably the relevant persons are looking into this, if not, they should be! IMO


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Comments

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,781 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    Considering Taxsaver is only of use to those paying income tax (e.g. not minimum wage workers), we basically don't have any discounts for commuters at all -lt more work required there


  • Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 26,350 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Peregrine


    There are plans for flexible Taxsaver tickets but it will take time because of the nature of Taxsaver. Any change will require amendments to primary income tax legislation through the Department of Finance. It's generally only done on budget day.

    But Taxsaver, like Cycle to Work, is a completely regressive system that gives discounts to high earners and makes low earners pay full whack for the same service. It needs to be replaced.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,381 ✭✭✭ AngryLips


    Yes saw a report in the Irish Sunday Times today that said the NTA were looking at implementing it but that it would require change to legislation because the original legislation was quite prescriptive. I wonder how it will be implemented and whether they'll just adopt the model used for the DB 30-day ticket where it's non consecutive use


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,136 ✭✭✭✭ Mrs OBumble


    Peregrine wrote: »
    But Taxsaver, like Cycle to Work, is a completely regressive system that gives discounts to high earners and makes low earners pay full whack for the same service. It needs to be replaced.

    If the policy goal is to encourage people to travel by public transport, who usually wouldn't, then surely the current arrangement is best at this. The lower paid get their discounts in the form of lower tax, medical cards, social housing and FIS.

    That said, TS is fupped-up.

    In one current company, I am the only person who it would be any use to (due to where other employees live). HR are not going sign up to any scheme just for one employee.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,920 ✭✭✭ Vic_08


    By far the most sensible arrangement would be to scrap the current scheme, agree a flat % with revenue and allow qualifying transport operators apply for that rebate on all sales of an agreed set of tickets.

    Restrict it to tickets that are generally only of value to regular commuters and it will by default be a tax rebate as few if any non-taxpayers will be buying them even with the revenue discount.

    Getting rid of all the current office work and accounting will reduce the cost of administering the scheme to near zero, just one application per year by each operator to revenue for their rebate.

    It would open it up to everybody not just those whose employers accounts department are willing to administer it and at the same time make the cost of the tickets obvious to customers rather than an arithmetic/tax lesson that puts many off.

    Alternatively, as the NTA are taking on the revenue for an increasing % of services just include funding for discounted commuter tickets as part of the NTA budget and leave revenue out of it altogether.


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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cdeb


    L1011 wrote: »
    Considering Taxsaver is only of use to those paying income tax (e.g. not minimum wage workers), we basically don't have any discounts for commuters at all -lt more work required there
    Not sure I understand this post tbh.

    Most people pay income tax. The price of a Taxsaver ticket includes a discount on what you would expect to pay if you were buying a ticket each day. And an annual Taxsaver ticket is ten times the cost of a monthly one, with two months free. So there absolutely are discounts for commuters.

    And separate to that, a 3-day ticket (or whatever becomes the norm) is probably going to have to be introduced at some stage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 22 Gloucester


    Not sure what L1011 meant above - I agree with cdeb, anyone paying income tax saves money on it, whether you're in the lower or higher bracket.

    In the organisation that I work in, I'm the only employee who needed it (all other staff live within walking / cycling distance or choose to drive) and Accounts had no problem signing up for it. It's a simple enough process and they could see the clear saving for me. But I guess it depends on the company you work for, ours is quite small.

    It's great that the Bike to Work Scheme & Taxsaver are not mutually exclusive. Over lockdown, it was great to be able to purchase a new bike and accessories safe in the knowledge that it wouldn't affect my Taxsaver ticket purchase when we return to a commute (be it a 3 or 4 day week or whatever transpires).


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,781 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    What we have is a tax rebate system for higher earners to encourage them out of cars; not a discount system for commuters. It was designed to be that way, but is not explicitly explained as being such.

    Those on the minimum wage do not pay income tax and as such get no discount from Taxsaver - the two months free is on annual tickets to begin with. Those on a lower income above this get a significantly lower discount than those on higher incomes.

    The only discounts available to lower earners are the neglible discounts over Leap capping (where available) that season passes already had. Taxsaver only becomes useful when you earn more.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cdeb


    But you've just repeated your point there without addressing the counter points made.

    Most people do pay tax. To say "We basically don't have any discounts for commuters at all" is absolute nonsense.

    Taxsaver is cheaper than capping for a start, particularly for longer commutes. And two months free for all absolutely is a discount

    Yes, Taxsaver benefits those who pay higher tax. They also pay more tax which subsidises public transport and reduces ticket prices. Lower earners benefit in other ways - a far lower % effective tax rate, less tax on additional earnings such as overtime or bonuses, cheaper BIK, etc

    Benefits don't have to always go to one side. A balance is good.


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  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,781 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    And I disagree with your viewpoint on that entirely.

    Its an incentive for higher rate tax payers (which is nowhere near "most people"), not a commuting subsidy


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cdeb


    I didn't say higher rate tax payers were "most people". I said most people paid tax.

    That, and everything else in my post, is a verifiable fact. You can't disagree with facts. You can try challenge them or present some sort of evidence to give an alternative factual viewpoint if you wish. But simply saying "I disagree" and then misquoting me isn't a recipe for a post I can take seriously.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,240 ✭✭✭ JeffKenna


    L1011 wrote: »
    What we have is a tax rebate system for higher earners to encourage them out of cars; not a discount system for commuters. It was designed to be that way, but is not explicitly explained as being such.

    Those on the minimum wage do not pay income tax and as such get no discount from Taxsaver - the two months free is on annual tickets to begin with. Those on a lower income above this get a significantly lower discount than those on higher incomes.

    The only discounts available to lower earners are the neglible discounts over Leap capping (where available) that season passes already had. Taxsaver only becomes useful when you earn more.

    Maybe those on minimum wage should start paying their fair share of tax like people do in most countries.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,136 ✭✭✭✭ Mrs OBumble


    cdeb wrote: »
    Most people do pay tax. To say "We basically don't have any discounts for commuters at all" is absolute nonsense.

    Taxsaver is cheaper than capping for a start, particularly for longer commutes. And two months free for all absolutely is a discount

    Everyone pays some consumption tax (VAT).

    But a huge number of workers pay little or no income tax (PAYE). This is because the first 18k of income (more if you're old or a sole-parent) is effectively taxed at 0%. I know people who turn down extra work, because it would take their income over 18k and so they would have to pay tax on it.

    People in this scenario don't benefit from TaxSaver, because they don't pay tax in the first place.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cdeb


    Everyone pays some consumption tax (VAT).

    But a huge number of workers pay little or no income tax (PAYE). This is because the first 18k of income (more if you're old or a sole-parent) is effectively taxed at 0%. I know people who turn down extra work, because it would take their income over 18k and so they would have to pay tax on it.

    People in this scenario don't benefit from TaxSaver, because they don't pay tax in the first place.

    Sigh

    I know that.

    Most people pay PAYE. I didn't think that really needed to be clarified in the context of the original comment. In fact, the SRCO is slightly below the median wage level - that is, the majority of people earn enough to be paying top-rate tax on some earnings

    Anyone who turns down extra work because it brings them into a higher tax band doesn't understand tax.

    Edit - in fact, here's an article from 2018 which says around 29% of workers were likely to not pay PAYE/USC that year. That includes students in summer jobs so far as I can see, for whom Taxsaver wouldn't really be relevant, so the real number for this discussion is going to be a fair bit lower. We can say that at least 70%, and probably more than 80%, of workers benefit from Taxsaver. And that's purely in terms of saving tax - the actual cheaper cost of the ticket compared to daily purchases is additional.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,136 ✭✭✭✭ Mrs OBumble


    cdeb wrote: »
    We can say that at least 70%, and probably more than 80%, of workers benefit from Taxsaver.

    Nowhere near it.

    Many employers don't participate.

    Most employees don't travel by public transport.

    In my main company, 0% benefits: everyone else drives, cos of where they live. I use PT, but cannot use TS because the company won't sign up for one employee.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cdeb


    You're again misrepresenting me. I'm talking about the percentage of people who benefit from having a Taxsaver ticket. The starting assumption in that is that you have a Taxsaver ticket.

    If 80% of workers pay tax, we can assume that 80% of people with a Taxsaver ticket benefit from a tax saving. There is no reason to suppose they'd be different to taxpayers in general. (In fact, they'd likely be skewed towards city workers as that's where public transport is centred, and you'd typically find higher wages there, so more likelihood of 40% savings, which I've already shown the majority of people pay)

    I've never heard of an employer who's refused to get a staff member a Taxsaver ticket. The employer saves money too. You don't "sign up" for anything - you just buy a ticket.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,492 ✭✭✭ wench


    cdeb wrote: »
    I've never heard of an employer who's refused to get a staff member a Taxsaver ticket. The employer saves money too. You don't "sign up" for anything - you just buy a ticket.
    Ah, you're clearly missing out on some of the vagaries of employer participation.
    I've worked for an employer who would only let you sign up for a taxsaver ticket using your bonus.

    If you didn't get a bonus that year, no ticket for you.
    If your bonus didn't cover the full amount, they would take the balance from your next paycheck. And you had to decide blind, before you knew how much your bonus was.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cdeb


    Well ok, but that is stupid from the employer. They save money when employees use the Taxsaver scheme too, which should make up for the fact that at any given stage, each staff member on the scheme will owe them about €700, which certainly can add up in terms of cash flow.

    Telling staff they can't have a ticket if they don't reach their bonus is punishing them twice and I'd say it's fantastic for staff morale.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,492 ✭✭✭ wench


    Oh absolutely. But morale isn't a measurable indicator, so who cares about that, right?


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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cdeb


    Sounds like the title of the next Dilbert book!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,806 ✭✭✭ goingnowhere


    wench wrote: »
    Ah, you're clearly missing out on some of the vagaries of employer participation.
    I've worked for an employer who would only let you sign up for a taxsaver ticket using your bonus.

    If you didn't get a bonus that year, no ticket for you.
    If your bonus didn't cover the full amount, they would take the balance from your next paycheck. And you had to decide blind, before you knew how much your bonus was.

    This is actually covered by the scheme

    1. Ticket can be offered as a 'bonus'
    2. Can be paid for out of salary

    It should be made available as normal tax claim also, thats the real failure you are tied to your employer. Its actually cheaper for the Government to let you claim as the employer doesn't get the PRSI saving


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,136 ✭✭✭✭ Mrs OBumble


    cdeb wrote: »
    You're again misrepresenting me. I'm talking about the percentage of people who benefit from having a Taxsaver ticket. The starting assumption in that is that you have a Taxsaver ticket.

    If 80% of workers pay tax, we can assume that 80% of people with a Taxsaver ticket benefit from a tax saving. There is no reason to suppose they'd be different to taxpayers in general. (In fact, they'd likely be skewed towards city workers as that's where public transport is centred, and you'd typically find higher wages there, so more likelihood of 40% savings, which I've already shown the majority of people pay)

    I've never heard of an employer who's refused to get a staff member a Taxsaver ticket. The employer saves money too. You don't "sign up" for anything - you just buy a ticket.

    No, you're talking about the % of tax saver users who benefit, not the % of all people.

    Employers do need to sign up to be allowed to buy tickets, they cannot just do one off purchases. They also need to collect info from their employees, authorising the ticket purchase.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cdeb


    I know what I was talking about, thanks. I wasn't - and indeed, no-one was - talking about the percentage of all people who benefit. What sort of useless stat would that be? Shock as people who don't use public transport don't get a tax discount from a public transport ticket.

    All you need to do is register on the Taxsaver site and buy a ticket. It's no different to setting up as a supplier of any goods/services - you obviously need to give some basic details so you can be invoiced. And the info they need to get from employees can be an e-mail saying "Please get me this ticket"

    (And a suggestion if I can - will you drop the aggressive attitude? You've come milling into this thread with comments in bold which clearly indicated you haven't properly read what's been said, and you've kept up the aggression ever since. It's not helpful)


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,286 Mod ✭✭✭✭ devnull


    cdeb wrote: »
    (And a suggestion if I can - will you drop the aggressive attitude? You've come milling into this thread with comments in bold which clearly indicated you haven't properly read what's been said, and you've kept up the aggression ever since. It's not helpful)

    If you have a problem with a post or a way that another user is posting, report the concerned posts using the report.gif button beside each post and the moderators will take a look and decide if any action is required. Do not attempt to back seat moderate.

    Do not reply to this post.

    - Moderator


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,136 ✭✭✭✭ Mrs OBumble


    cdeb wrote: »
    All you need to do is register on the Taxsaver site and buy a ticket. It's no different to setting up as a supplier of any goods/services - you obviously need to give some basic details so you can be invoiced. And the info they need to get from employees can be an e-mail saying "Please get me this ticket"

    When I worked for companies that offered Tax Saver, they collected far more information, so that they had adequate information to justify the salary deduction. There was talk that a photo-id would be required in future too - I don't know if that was ever implemented.

    Also, while TaxSaver may have a simple employer sign-up process from their side (detailed here - https://www.taxsaver.ie/Employers/How-to-get-started/), most companies have their own supplier validation process that also needs to be followed. This may include steps like a phone-call to double-check the bank account number before the first payment is made. Some companies will not allow suppliers to take payment by direct-debit, and have restrictive rules about what their own credit card can be used for.

    The whole scheme is bureaucratic for very little benefit: direct funding of subsidised services would be far more efficient.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cdeb


    What more information do you need to justify a salary deduction than an email saying "Please buy me a ticket and deduct from my salary"? At absolute worst, a one-page template form would be required. It's not a pension you're signing up for.

    A supplier validation process is absolutely standard and not a reason to avoid Taxsaver. Especially when the bank details are on the website and do not require a phone call to confirm. Photo ID has been there for years and takes moments to arrange. It's not an issue, and it's only for new employees, not for every ticket. Take a photo on your phone and get on with it.

    What companies won't allow DD supplier payments? Why would you make things difficult for yourself?

    I should point out I've been buying Leap cards for staff in various organisations for the last 15 years, and it's not remotely bureaucratic. Stuff like supplier setup forms are all very very standard if you want to set up an account with any supplier.

    And there is benefit - the company and the commuter save money and time, because the annual ticket is cheaper than topping up a Leap card or paying cash, because it saves the time of topping up a Leap card or paying cash, and because the vast majority of commuters save tax.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,136 ✭✭✭✭ Mrs OBumble


    cdeb wrote: »
    And there is benefit - the company and the commuter save money and time, because the annual ticket is cheaper than topping up a Leap card or paying cash, because it saves the time of topping up a Leap card or paying cash, and because the vast majority of commuters save tax.


    And there's another point: some companies only allow purchase of annual tickets, not monthly ones. Which is sweet f-all use for temporary and fixed-term employees, and those who might change jobs with the next 12 months.


    I'm not going into discussion about what type of companies won't do DDs etc, etc, as this isn't the place. But I will 100% stand by the statement. I've done contracts in a wide variety of Irish companies by this stage, and I know that *some* have policies like I've described. Maybe only a few companies have each issue I've mentioned. But the nett effect is that Tax Saver is not available to a great many people


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cdeb


    It is simply not true that "Taxsaver is not available to a great many people". The circumstances you describe are a minority, and would likely be outnumbered by contractors, who would be ineligible as they're not employees.

    The bureaucracy you describe is nothing of the sort - it's standard supplier set-up stuff that needs to be done once and once only. And it's simply not true to say that it's for very little benefit - half the working population pay top-rate tax and so would save 52% on their already-discounted ticket.

    We can add that to the other fallacies in this thread, which are worth grouping together as a summary -
    L1011 wrote:
    Considering Taxsaver is only of use to those paying income tax (e.g. not minimum wage workers), we basically don't have any discounts for commuters at all -lt more work required there
    Not true, as shown.
    L1011 wrote:
    The only discounts available to lower earners are the neglible discounts over Leap capping (where available) that season passes already had.
    Not true, as shown.
    Everyone pays some consumption tax (VAT).

    But a huge number of workers pay little or no income tax (PAYE).
    Irrelevant to the extent it indicates you haven't read the first page of the thread.
    No, you're talking about the % of tax saver users who benefit, not the % of all people.
    Misrepresenting what I said.


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  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,781 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    cdeb wrote: »
    We can add that to the other fallacies in this thread, which are worth grouping together as a summary -


    Not true, as shown.


    Not true, as shown.

    You basically going "No!" does not make something a fallacy / show it not to be true.


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