Transportation benefit changes for 2012

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.

One Comment

  1. Can we just kill all of these programs? Why do we have to pay people to drive to work? As much as I would like to receive money for biking to work, in this squeezed economy it just seems pointless to be subsidizing travel that essentially promotes sprawl. Let the cheaper options prevail on their own.

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