Good news for people who commute via employer-provided CaBi memberships and who report that membership as a taxable fringe benefit (If any such people actually exist).
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said Tuesday he’s introducing an amendment to a tax bill that would allow workers who commute via bike-share programs like New York’s Citi Bike to get a tax break; the bill is set to be debated on Thursday. The tax break would let employees biking to work exclude $20 a month from their income for income tax purposes if they have an employer-provided bike-sharing membership.
Though that sum may sound insignificant, the IRS’s current position is that bike-share fees do not count as a commuter fringe benefit—meaning that employers that provide employees with a bike-share benefit can’t exclude its cost from an employee’s gross income, like they can with monthly parking or mass transit costs—or even the cost of storing or buying a bike you ride to work (up to $20 in 2013). What’s more, the IRS said last year that a move of this sort would require legislative action.
It's not clear if these means you can use the bike commuter benefit to pay for a bikeshare membership on your own or if it has to be employer-provided.
While this amendment would certainly delight the thousands of travelers who commute to work via bike-sharing programs, there’s certainly no guarantee it will pass. Indeed, the amendment will be part of a larger “tax extenders” bill that will address renewal of some 50 tax credits and deductions that expired last year. But Schumer seems confident that that this amendment would be part of a “must-pass” senate tax bill that will be debated Thursday.