Recent Comments

« Outdoor classroom 3 at southern end of Kingman Island Trail | Main | Drivers who kill people on bikes often don't get prosecuted »

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

•You can not use the bicycle benefit to pay for bike sharing

The IRS has stated that bikeshare is not transit, since the statute defines transit as involving vehicles that carry multiple passengers. So you can't use the transit subsidy to pay for bikeshare. I don't see any reason why you couldn't use the bike subsidy.

The problem of course is that very few people would forfeit a $130/mo transit subsidy for the small bike subsidy.

Note also that the cycling subsidy is $240/year rather than $20/month. That helps for purchases which are often larger than $20. But I am unclear whether the use of the bicycle subsidy during any part of the year precludes the use of the transit subsidy for the entire month.

The irs says you can't use the bike subsidy for bike sharing either.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-wd/13-0032.pdf

I think a lot of people might forfeit the transit subsidy for the bike subsidy. If they exclusively bike and do not take transit. So if they live in a city with good Bikeshare, but bad transit they might. I think the low dollar value might only be the third worst barrier to uptake of this law.

The benefit is $20 a month BTW. You can take it for a few months, and then take the transit benefit for a few. If you can cover your annual transit fares in 10 months, you can get the 2 months of bike subsidy on top of that. But only if your employer is willing to pay for it.

Confused, is this only applicable to those employees offering some form of benefit? Or is this like where I can put some money into the pre-tax account? And if it's the latter, why on earth do I need my work to authorize my cycling needs--I'm the only one who bikes (sadly) so I can't see how this works out.

At the same time, I do think it's bs other people can shelter money from taxes for a transit benefit, while I bike in. And I would prefer something to nothing.

Drivers can exclude $250? Why? Incentive to drive?

A lot of flexible spending programs could, but don't, include the bike subsidy.

T, You can't legally put money into a pre-tax account (though I've heard of people doing it). It has to be a situation where your employer offers you a benefit on top of your salary. If they do that benefit is tax free.

Greenbelt, the $250 is only for parking. It wasn't really meant to be an incentive, it was just meant to make things easier. Trying to figure out how much fringe benefit everyone was getting because of free at-work parking was deemed onerous. So they just decided to waive it since everyone drove to work anyway. But then transit users were able to successfully argue that they were losing out, because they didn't drive. And then bike commuters were able to do the same 25 years later. Pedestrians are still getting screwed. I heard the $250 number comes from the estimated value of the free parking that Congress provides its employees.

Ahh, thanks. Damn, I'll have to convince my employer to do it if it passes.

I think we should have the same pre-tax rights. Or rather I hope for it. Most likely way i could benefit :\.

T, you could - right now - ask your employer to cut your salary by 12 cents an hour, but only if they offer you the $20 a month bike commuter benefit. You'd both come out ahead (assuming you don't work too much overtime).

Rep Peter King (NY) has introduced the Commuter Parity Act of 2015 (H.R. 990). This bill is another run at the earlier commuter parity bills that are trying to balance the transit and parking subsidies. The bill seeks to amend Section 132 of the Internal Revenue Code. While I don’t have skin in that game (I can’t get parking at work and if I were to commute by WMATA my monthly fare would be less than the old max), I do have an interest in the Bicycle Commuter Reimbursement however.

As H.R. 990 is currently worded, it maintains the prohibition on simultaneous receipt of transit subsidy and the bicycle commuter reimbursement. If your employer offers the bicycle commuter reimbursement, you are not eligible for a conventional transit subsidy. As the tax code is currently written (with a $20 Bicycle Commuter Reimbursement), just a few days of Metro use would consume the entire amount. If somebody were commuting from Crystal City to L’Enfant Plaza (peak fare $2.15), the $20/month would offset just under one week on Metrorail.

The bill changes the maximum amount that can be subsidized (without tax issues) to $235 per month for transit and $35 per month for bicycle commuting. The suggestions below would change a few words to permit a total eligibility of $235 per month that could be distributed (with limits) to support the needs of the commuter. In my case, my agency limits my WMATA fare eligibility to about $65 per month because of my short commute. I could choose to receive $35 for the bicycle commuter benefit and the $30 on a WMATA fare card.

I think our elected representatives should be asked to sign on as sponsors (currently the co-sponsors are Earl Blumenauer (OR), James McGovern (MA), Sean Maloney (NY), Randy Hultgren (IL), Robert Dold (IL), Lance Leonard (NJ), Daniel Lipinski (IL), and Robert Wittman (VA)) of this bill and to make the amendments presented below. Note that none of the folks that represent our areas are listed.

I think this bill and the changes I have proposed will strengthen bicycle commuting in the Washington area and nationwide.

I posted a discussion of some recommended changes I will be sending Rep King and my elected reps on the forum

http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?8287-HR-990-Commuter-Parity-Act-of-2015&p=110442

My agency recently adopted a policy to implement the bike commuter benefit. Locally, most folks sing the same refrain: "I'm not going to give up my Metro subsidy for 20 bucks a month for the biking I do." Most of us ride when we can, and take Metro/Metro-bus when we can't. Any unused subsidy on my Metro card disappears at the end of the month - travel days, sick days, holiday, vacation, oh, bike commuting...I rarely use what I predict I will use. It doesn't make sense to not allow concurrent use. It's rare that when I'm not on metro, I'm in my vehicle - I think I drive to work about 5 times a year. And that's really the intent of the subsidy - to get folks out of private cars into alternative forms of transportation.
And - for what it's worth - a friend who works for my agency in St. Pete forwarded an email from our agency's POC about getting paperwork out for the subsidy. There were about 15 other names on the email chain - ALL were in our remote sites: Seattle, Honolulu, St. Pete. None were from the DC area, where there is metro. So, as written, the policy may have some benefit - just not where you might expect it to be.

i hope it passes, but then they have to deal with the issue of not being able to do both bike and transit in the same month. If I could combine, there is no question that I would save the government money. As it is now, I use $80/month in metro fares. If I got the $20/month bike benefit and biked 50% of days and metro the other 50%, my monthly total would be $60. Savings for the USG. What is stopping them?

I suspect it is getting bogged down by pay-go. Expanding the subsidy would cost money, and that would require either raising taxes or cutting spending. They can't find anything to offset it I guess.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009

Categories

 Subscribe in a reader