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Tax Break for Commuters?(9 posts)

Tax Break for Commuters?soup
Mar 24, 2003 5:48 AM

Don't hold your breath...KEN2
Mar 24, 2003 6:32 AM
This idea has been around the block before. It seems much more difficult to pass a tax break for cyclists in Congress than it does for the top 1% wealthiest. Money talks.
no gasoline tax... nmDougSloan
Mar 24, 2003 7:34 AM
I think this has got a good chance this time.Scot_Gore
Mar 24, 2003 9:21 AM
Subsidzied parking, bus passes, car pooling and tax breaks that go with them is a pretty accepted and widespread practice these days.

Lots of the objections that came up before have been ironed out in the car pool, bus pass world (they didn't have anything to do with cycling). I bet we see something either as part of the TEA-21 re-autohorization or as a seperate ammendment this year.

my two cents.

Too coercive for my blood....Stinky Hippie
Mar 24, 2003 12:56 PM
..But then, I've been reading too much Nozick, recently.

Feel the gin
Better: Toll access (like London) free for cyclists. nmSpunout
Mar 24, 2003 6:44 AM
re: Tax Break for Commuters?shamelessgearwhore
Mar 24, 2003 11:07 AM
How exactly would it be implemented? While you can show a receipt for a bus pass, or your employer can simply buy your pass, there would be no way to prove that you bike to work.
Proof not really required in most casesScot_Gore
Mar 24, 2003 5:27 PM
Some of the benefits (and proposed benefits) accrue to your employer, not any individual. For example, your employer may be receiving a tax benefit for providing you with subsidized parking, but does not have to prove that you actually parked a car there.

Also, folks may get a wage subsidy for car-pooling, but don't have anything to show that they actually did it.

As you say you can show a receipt or your employer can buy a bus pass, but nothing proves you rode the bus.

There's no proof for car pooling, riding the bus, or parking in a free spot, why is riding your bike to work any different?

Hope that helps.

re: Tax Break for Commuters?DaveLobster
Mar 24, 2003 6:41 PM
This proposed "tax break," if passed, would mean that if your employer were to give you cash for commuting by bicycle, then that cash (up to a certain amount), will not be taxable.

Basically, any income or fringe benefit you get from your employer is income to you (IRC Sec. 61(a)(1)). However, certain fringe benefits are exempt from tax. Among these are "qualified transportation fringes." What this means is that you can get a free bus pass from your employer and they don't have to include the value of it on your W-2(Sec. 132(f)). This bill would include money paid to you for bicycling to work in that category.

So if this were passed, in order to get the "tax break" you would first need to get some sort of commuting reimbursement money from your employer. Then you wouldn't have to include it in your income. If your employer doesn't give you that fringe benefit, this proposed law wouldn't benefit you at all. Hope that makes sense.

-Dave (full time cyclist and wheelbuilder, part time Corporate Tax Accountant)