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 pre-tax savings for transportation assistance — up to $255 a month per employee. This allows employees to save money by purchasing transit passes or vanpool vouchers with pre-tax dollars, up to $255 per month. Employers also have the option of subsidizing part of their employees’ commuting costs.
Qualified Bike 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 bike and bike improvements. This includes repair and storage if the bike is regularly used for travel between the employee's residence and place of employment.
Employers or employees can create a vanpool through the SANDAG 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.
apply for this pilot program
The Try Transit pilot program is an employer benefit that provides eligible employees with a free 30-Day Pass to try one of the many transit choices – bus, train, or Trolley – in the San Diego region.
Commuter Tax Benefits
Employer Pre-Tax Webinar Presentation
IRS Employer's Tax Guide
MTS ECO Pass Program