The Internal Revenue Service has announced the monthly limits on the value of qualified transportation benefits for employer-provided transit passes and qualified parking for 2012 under Internal Revenue Code Sec. 132(f).
The pre-tax public transportation benefit reverts back to a maximum $125 per month. In 2009, the transit benefit was raised to a maximum $230 per month, but the ARRA bill that authorized that new maximum expires at the end of this year. $125 just about pays for a monthly two zone Caltrain pass, or three weeks of BART from the East Bay to San Francisco.
Cyclists can still get a lousy $20 / month in tax free dollars for riding their bikes, provided your employer offers that benefit and you don’t use a transit benefit.
Uncle Sam still loves drivers: If you or your employer pays for your parking, your monthly tax-free parking benefit goes up $10 to $240 / month for 2012. This applies to those who receive free parking as a fringe benefit when the employer pays for your parking. That’s up to $2,880 in untaxed income for everybody who drives to work and parks in a paid parking facility. For those in the 25% tax bracket, that’s $720 in taxes you don’t pay. Parking garage monthly rates run from $200 to $500 in San Francisco. City owned garages in San Jose run $100 to $200 per month.
California Parking Cash Out: In California, certain employers who provide a parking benefit must also offer an equivalent cash benefit to employees who do not use the parking benefit.