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This is still really weird. I cancelled my parking and save my employer about $130/ month. I save $100 for parking (pre-tax) but I need to pay $40 for the gym which I would not pay if I continued to drive my car.

As I said some time ago in some other comments, allowing up to $230 for parking expenses is counter-productive since it subsidizes profits of parking garage operators.

I would be happy with a fully reimbursed gym membership and a flat payment once or twice a year to be used for bike maintenance or equipment purchase.

Even if the flat payment(s) amounts to $300, my emplyer would still only pay half of what bthey pay for the parking garage subsidy (in this case $780).

I also have a question: How did you come up with $480 tax free? Wouldn't it be $240, i.e. 12 x $20?

This benefit like a painted bike lane is mostly symbolic. I don't think I any of the my 15 current and former employers would give me 20 bucks a month to ride a bike. To their defense, none of them ever gave me any money to drive or take the bus to work either.

This is interesting, and makes the benefit (as it currently stands) virtually worthless. It sabotages multi-modal transit (e.g. bike+rail) and excludes the vast number of employers who will be unwilling to add a benefit that they need to pay for.

Inevitably, tax policy is structured with an eye to the impact on tax revenue. (We can't create too many environmentally friendly tax incentives, or we'll lose revenue. Never mind the effect on the planet!) I suspect something like that is going on here. By making the bicycle benefit exclusive of other transit benefits, small, and employer-paid the government makes sure that it will not have a negative impact on revenue. Of course, by the token, it is unlikely to have much an impact.

guez,

I agree with you. However, at the same time they increased the public transit benefit from $130 (or whatever it was before) to $230 but left the parking benefit at $230. They should ahve switched those two around and that would ahve created a marked spike in the use of the transit subsidy, I believe.

In the end, I think people begrudge anyone who is walking to work or bicycling to work and want to make sure that this group of people do not receive any rewards for their behavior.

After all, the walkers always jawalk and the bikers always run red lights.

Makes me think of the current transit allowance/ subsidy from the US gov't- basically- as it stands- the farther you live from work, the more money they give you to take transit.

The best thing to do for the good of everyone would be to reward those who live closest to their jobs with more allowance.

I don't think this benefit is worth the lobbying done to achieve it. It's too small an amount and it sounds like a hassle to get the deduction. Maybe they could just give employers incentives to provide showers, or an increase to the Transportation Enhancements program that funds bike/ped projects in the U.S. Is the $20 limit the amount of expense that's deductable or the actual deduction (tax savings)?

Jack,

Based on the description above, the benefit is employer-paid only, so $20 is the amount of the expense. (The employee can't deduct anything since s/he didn't pay.)

This information has been on the LAB site for quite a while. Is there new information that was recently posted that clarifies implementation of the benefit?

One of the benefits of working as an independent contractor is that you can write off *all* your commuting expenses, since it's a legitimate expense for your "business." I do commute to client's offices by bike, but 'm not sure I want to be a pioneer in claiming bike expenses!

Can I ask my employer to qualify $20 of my paycheck as a fringe benefit instead of asking for a $20 a month raise?

It would make sense for employers to take advantage too, because that $20 is free of SS and Medicare payments which they pay equally with the employees.

Yes you can ask and they can do it. But not if you get any other transit benefit. (my employer has not jumped at the chance yet, but they did say they were investigating - it's hard to turn a big boat, and I work for a big company)

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