There are many ways to implement or improve an existing commuter benefit program at little or no cost – offering certain employee benefits can actually save your company money.
Under the Transportation Equity Act, IRS code 132(f), and California state law, employers are allowed to offer payroll tax savings for transportation assistance — up to $245 a month per employee for transit passes or vanpool vouchers. Employers also have the option of subsidizing part of their employees’ commuting costs and allowing employees to pay for the remainder, up to the $245 monthly limit, with pre-tax dollars.
Qualified Bicycle Commuting Reimbursement. The 2008 Energy Act added “qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement” to the list of transportation fringe benefits. Starting in 2009, any employer may reimburse an employee up to $20 per month, tax free, for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements. This includes repair and storage if the bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee's residence and place of employment.
Employers or employees can create a vanpool through the iCommute vanpool program and receive up to $400 per month to help offset the cost of the lease. In 2011, vanpool participants saved almost $1,000 each in ownership and operating costs in addition to their tremendous savings on gas.
Employers can buy transit passes in bulk at a discounted rate, 10-25 percent, through the Metropolitan Transit System EcoPass Program; yet another way to pass savings along to employees.
For more information, call 511 and say “iCommute” or e-mail email@example.com.
San Diego area employers can get a free Commuter Benefit Program Starter Kit to help develop and implement a commuter policy and benefits program. The kit contains a simple, three-step process to help you identify your needs, design a custom program, and roll it out to your employees.
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