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My employer does offer pre-tax commuter benefits, just not the cycling one. They got the parking one, though, which I personally consider an obscenity.

The federal program still allows for a much higher benefit for parking or transit correct?

Given that I think most cyclists would book the transit subsidy over the cycling reimbursement.

How does the city program help things? If an employer is going to provide a pre-tax benefit wouldn't they do so under the federal program guidelines?

Yeah, the parking and transit benefits are both higher and perhaps most cyclists would choose the transit subsidy over the cycling one (I don't, as I've metro maybe twice in the last year). But that doesn't mean this law won't help cyclists.

Even if most choose the transit subsidy, not all will - as not all do now. And if federal law changes to allow for a balanced bike subsidy or one that allows people to use it to pay for bikesharing, then it becomes an even better option.

I'm not sure I understand the question about the federal program guidelines. I think most employers would create a program that maxes out the federal benefits, and that many will include the bicycle benefit - which is a federal benefit.

I wonder if they can count getting a protected bike shelter/rack as benefit divided by people who say they may use it? Or other things like a shower. The money is nice, but really, I think to increase our #s, we need it to be easier for other people. Part of that is infrastructure, part of it is can they take a shower at work, lock their bikes to a rack, etc.

Once you have your checks, you can spend that any bike shop as you see fit. So if coworkers want to band together to buy a bike shelter or rack, that can probably be done. A shower is tougher. I bet the IRS would frown on that. But the updated zoning code - if it ever happens - should help with that.

The dollar amount here (non govt. DC employer) of the benefit for transit, parking, and biking is the same, but the biking one adds to taxable income. Because I never do either of the other two options, biking it is. It's a far more generous dollar amount than the DC requirement, but has come with increasing restrictions recently (no bike clothes or accessories).

DE, the biking benefit does not add to taxable income, at least not if your employer does this correctly. Look at USC 26 Section 132(f), a law about which I know far too much. It allows anything listed there as a transportation fringe benefit, and like all fringe benefits, they are exempt from additional taxation (that's why they use the word "fringe", and it is akin to your health plan -unless you have a "cadillac plan under ACA).

Anyway, the bike benefit is $20, while car parking is at $285 last I checked, and transit was at $250 after the last fix (it gets broken through congressional inaction regularly, while car parking doesn't). An employer can combine transit and parking benefits for a total of $535 in benefits per month (think of the Park 'n' Ride user from Germantown going to downtown daily). However, bike benefit cannot be combined with other benefits, so it's $20 or up to $535, but not allowing a bike + transit combo.

Earl Blumenauer's Transit Equity Act would create a simple $250 in benefits divided any way among existing categories, which would be great because I'd buy a new bike every three months, but it doesn't go anywhere in this congress.

The real scandal is in how the parking benefit is administered. A lot of employers that own their own parking (or control their own in the case of government) are giving more in free parking benefits than allowable by law, and they just don't ever do any bookkeeping on it. Think about Congress itself, and what a monthly space adjacent to the Capitol costs ($300+ per month), then consider that every MOC and much of their staff get free parking, and don't pay taxes on the incremental benefits above what is allowed by the law which they made (about $15 per month on average). Multiply that $15/mo by number of MOCs and staffers using free parking (535 x 10 = 5,350), and multiply again by 12 months/yr. What you get ($15 x 5,350 staff & MOCs using x 12 mos = $963,000/year).

$963,000/ year is my rough calculation of how much in taxes members of congress and their staffs are shorting the U.S. treasury and taxpayers by giving themselves free parking in excess of the allowable limit that they themselves set in law. Now that's a scandal.

Will, that sounds like a GGW post.

Will, I was talking about the benefit where i work, not the one passed by DC. Ours does add to taxable income. For me, $125 turns into $90, once every month. It's the same amount as the parking and Metro subsidies here. I'm not clear on whether it will change once the law goes into effect.

DE, What I'm saying is that your HR staff is administering this benefit incorrectly, and they shouldn't be taxing it, nor paying any payroll tax on it. Bring it to their attention, it should save both employer and employee money.

Will, I think he's getting a benefit above the $20 a month, and that part is being taxed, which would be correct.

I believe what WC says is correct. Knowing our HR dept, I think I'll stand pat. I'd prefer to keep the higher benefit, even if it is taxed.

Oh, I misread this to think they had to give you the pre-tax benefit like where they put some of your money away pre-tax. I didn't realize it was a post-tax check.

Screw the showers and racks. I want the check. I was just thinking if it's the silly I can put $20 a month away without paying taxes than I would rather have some benefit I would use than $3 a month I'll save. But $20 more... yah, that's two tubes, a cage, etc.

T, they have the option to do either. 1) above is the pre-tax money 2) is the post-tax check. My employer offers 1) and DE's offers 2).

Ah, thanks for the clarification. My employer offers the pre-tax, a limited amount of parking, and in deference to me, they're acquiring a bike rack in the near future.

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