Did you know you can get a tax break from the Bike Commuter Benefit? For those last minute tax filers like myself, save yourself a few dollars this year. Many of you may already work in NYC buildings that are legally required to accommodate your bicycles. We know that law isn’t perfect but just like the Commuter Benefit, it is a step in the right direction.
Bike Commuter Benefit – What is it?
It allows for employers to provide the option to incentivize bike commuting among their employees. And it does this by offering up to $20 per month for “reasonable expenses incurred.” This can include purchases like a bike for commuting, repairs, U-locks, lights, helmets, etc. All of these costs are available tax-free up to $240 per year – a significant savings on a new bike purchase!
Who is eligible?
As a rule, the qualified transportation fringe benefit can only be provided by employers to employees. Looks like the code hasn’t caught up for independent contractors and sole proprietors. Ya’ll are out of luck.
How do I get it?
First, talk to your employer and tell them you want this benefit. If there are other bike commuters in your office, tell them to speak up too!
Many employers contract with a Commuter Benefit Provider to coordinate their commuter programs, so have your benefit coordinator call the provider to request enrollment in the bike benefit program. As of April 2009, we have not confirmed any providers who offer the bike benefit other than Commuter Benefit Solutions. But other providers are looking to initiate this program, so call and tell them you want it!
If your employer already contracts with a Commuter Benefit Provider, ask the person who coordinates these benefits to request enrollment in the bike benefit program. If the provider doesn’t offer it, find out when they plan to implement it- it’s law as of January 1, 2009. [via Bike League]