New Zealand - Tax exemptions for e-bikes and e-scooters announced

The New Zealand government has introduced new tax exemptions for electric bikes and scooters for commuting to work and home as part of the country's wider goal to encourage the use of low-emission vehicles, reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.

Under the new rules, electric bikes and scooters will be treated the same as traditional bicycles for tax purposes and they will be exempt from fringe benefit tax (FBT). FBT is a tax on non-cash benefits employers provide to their employees. By exempting electric bikes and scooters from this tax, the government hopes to make them more accessible and affordable for employers to provide to employees.

The tax exemptions are expected to have the following benefits:

  • They will make these modes of transportation more affordable, which could encourage more employers with a policy focus on ESG to help more people to switch from cars to electric bikes and scooters. This, in turn, could lead to reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality in cities and could also help to reduce the country's dependence on imported oil, which could have economic benefits in the long run.
  • Electric bikes and scooters are seen as a more sustainable mode of transportation than traditional cars. They emit fewer greenhouse gases and require less energy to operate than cars, making them a more environmentally friendly option. By encouraging the adoption of electric bikes and scooters, the government hopes to reduce the country's carbon footprint and promote sustainable development.

Some critics have argued that the tax exemptions may not be enough to encourage widespread adoption of electric bikes and scooters, pointing out that many may still prefer cars for longer journeys or in areas with limited public transport options. Despite these concerns, our view is that the tax exemptions represent a positive step towards reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable transportation in New Zealand. By making these modes of transportation more affordable and accessible, the government hopes to encourage more people to choose electric bikes and scooters over traditional cars. Over time, this could lead to a shift in transportation habits and a more sustainable future for New Zealand.

Alan Scott
Iain Craig
Mark Lodder
BDO in New Zealand

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