pre-tax commuter benefits; | 511 Contra Costa

Transit and Vanpool Commuter Benefits to be Reduced in 2014

Fireworks in Pinole, CA in Contra Costa CountyTransit riders and vanpoolers who take advantage of pre-tax commuter benefits with their employer will find that their maximum monthly limit decrease to $130 starting January 1, 2014 from $245 in 2013.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (HR 8) restored the pre-tax transit and vanpool commuter benefits to be on par with the qualified parking benefit temporarily for the 2013 calendar year. That parity ends December 31, 2013.
At this time, the 2014 monthly limits for qualified monthly transportation benefits are:

  • up to $130 per employee per month for public transportation and vanpool
  • up to $250 per employee per month for qualified parking, or
  • up to $380 per employee per month for both public transportation and qualified parking

Qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements will remain unchanged at $20 per month in the new year.
Congress will have to pass legislation to make any changes to the 2014 transit and vanpool limits.
See the IRS Bulletin regarding the new monthly limits.
For more information about Transportation Fringe Benefits, visit the Internal Revenue Code Section 132 (F), as amended by TEA-21, Title IX, Section 910.

Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program Public Workshop (2013)

The staff of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) will conduct public workshops to present, discuss, and receive comments on draft Regulation 14, Rule 1: The Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program.
What is the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program?
California Senate Bill 1339, signed into law in fall 2012 created the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program (Program).  Employers with 50 or more full-time employees in the Bay Area are required to provide commuter benefit options to their employees.

  1. Employers can select one of the following four commuter benefit options to offer to their employees:
  2. The option for employees to pay for their transit or vanpool expenses with pre-tax dollars, as allowed by current federal law;
  3. A transit or vanpool subsidy to reduce, or cover, employees’ monthly transit or vanpool costs;
  4. A low-cost or free shuttle, vanpool, or bus service operated by or for the employer; or
  5. An alternative method that would be equally as effective as the other options in reducing single-occupant vehicle trips (and/or vehicle emissions).

Building on the success of similar programs adopted in the cities of San Francisco, Berkeley and Richmond, as well as the San Francisco International Airport, the Program facilitates a regional approach to encourage the use of sustainable commute modes, such as public transit, ridesharing, bicycling and walking, in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality.
In the Bay Area, where these programs are already in place, most employers have chosen the pre-tax option (option 1 above), which can provide economic benefits to both employers and employees through tax savings.  Employers can reduce payroll taxes (approximately 9 percent of subject wages), and employees can lower their commute costs by up to 40 percent.
Plan Implementation
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission are currently developing plans for adopting and implementing the Program, and will conduct public workshops to present, discuss and receive comments on the Program.  View dates and locations of upcoming workshops.
See also New Bay Area Commuter Benefit Policy