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 $130 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 $130 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. Since 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. During the 2014 fiscal year, iCommute participants saved $25 million on fuel costs, which can buy 556,000 single day passes to Comic-Con.
Employers can buy transit passes in bulk at a discounted rate, 10-25 percent, through the Metropolitan Transit System ECO Pass Program; yet another way to pass savings along to employees.
For more information, call 511 and say “iCommute” or email iCommute@sandag.org.
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Anyone who takes transit, carpools, vanpools, walks, or bikes to work or school at least eight days per month and logs trips is eligible. Visit TripTracker to learn more.
IRS Commuter Fringe Benefits
MTS ECO Pass Program
Guaranteed Ride Home
Park & Ride lots