The Commuter Tax Benefit program allows commuters the opportunity to pay for a portion of their commuting expenses with pre-tax dollars. As of January 2014, federal tax law allows commuters to set aside $250 for qualified parking expenses (an increase over the previous year). But workers who use public transit saw their monthly limit shrink from $245 to $130 per month.
This imbalance in the tax code means that transit users could pay as much as $565 in higher taxes annually, while creating a perverse favoritism in the tax code for automobile commuters. As fellow transit advocates, we need you to email your Members of Congress and ask that this commuter tax imbalance be fixed…
We’re urging Congress to restore parity between commuter tax benefits for transit and auto users before the start of the next tax year, and to have such equity applied beyond 2015. The Commuter Benefit should be consistent across modes of travel. Here’s why we think a fair Commuter Benefit makes good policy:
- It would provide relief to commuters in rural areas who rely on vanpooling as a vital link to access jobs, healthcare, and education;
- Allow commuters to choose the travel mode that is right for their household;
- Give equal commuter tax benefits to workers who rely on transit and may not have access to a car, many of who may be lower wage workers; and
- Encourage commuters to choose transit which reduces traffic congestion, improves air quality, saves energy, and decreases fossil fuel imports.
Last week, the House passed the Tax Extenders Bill including a provision to restore parity to the parking-transit commuter benefit for 2014. We need to act now to ensure that the Senate includes this provision in its version of the bill. And we need to let Congress know that we appreciate their support for this important tax benefit, and urge them to make it permanent.
Please join us in calling on Congress to fix this unfair disparity that does not make sense.
Email your Members of Congress today that you support restoring parity in the tax code between the commuter and parking pre-tax benefits permanently.
Help spread the word by letting your coalition members and colleagues know about the need for Congress to restore equity in the tax code for all commuters.
Thanks for your attention to this important issue!