What is a salary sacrifice arrangement?
The term salary sacrifice is generally understood to mean an arrangement between the employer and employee under which the employee forgoes the right to receive any part of his or her remuneration due under the term of his/her contract of employment and in return their employer provides a benefit of a corresponding amount to the employee.
Where an employee forgoes salary payable under an existing contract of employment in exchange for a benefit, the employee remains taxable on the “gross” income payable. The salary sacrificed will be an application of income earned by the employee, not an expense incurred by the employer.
However, there are Revenue approved salary sacrifice arrangements which are exempt from the tax treatment outlined above. These include the following scenarios where the employee’s gross salary is reduced in return for:
- bus, rail or ferry travel passes through a travel pass scheme
- exempt shares appropriated to employees under approved profit sharing schemes, provided certain conditions are met
- the provision of bicycles and safety equipment through the cycle to work scheme