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Commuter Choice


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Commuter Choice is a federal tax program to encourage GA employees to use transit or vanpool.

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Commuter Choice

  1. 1. Commuter Benefits
  2. 2. Our MissionThe Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association (BATMA) works cooperatively with community partners to improve mobility,accessibility and air q y quality in Buckhead by sponsoring p g y y p g programs andproviding incentives to encourage commuters to take transit, carpool, vanpool, telework, bike and walk to work. Over 80 businesses Over 20 property management firms Over 3,000 commuters
  3. 3. Hidden Costs of Commuting
  4. 4. Alternative commute options…• Carpool• Vanpool• Transit• Telework T l k• Alternative Work Schedules• Bike• W lk Walk
  5. 5. What seems like an The equivalent of:endless stream of cars Is only 88 people 2 Carpoolsin this photo … 1 Vanpool 1 Xpress bus
  6. 6. Commuter Benefits Commuter Choice Commuter Rewards Note: The information presented here does not constitute official tax guidance or a ruling by the U.S. Government. Taxpayers are urged to consult with the Internal Revenue Service of the U.S. Department of Treasury or a tax professional for specific guidance related to the Federal tax law.
  7. 7. Commuter Choice• Federal Tax Code allows employers to provide tax-free bike, transit, vanpool, and parking benefits to their employees (“qualified (“q alified transportation fringe” benefits) benefits).• Tax-free benefits were expanded in 1998 by The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) that amended the (TEA 21) federal tax code (132-f) to create financial incentives related to employer provided commuter benefits.• TEA-21 TEA 21 was expanded in 2009 with the Federal Stimulus Package to almost double the benefits, and to include bike commuting for the 1st time.
  8. 8. Commuter Choice• Commuter Benefits have tax advantages because they are not subject to Federal Income and payroll taxes. This is not a federal tax t credit. dit• Under the tax code employers can offer qualified transportation fringe benefits in three ways: – Employers can cover the cost of the tax-free transportation fringe benefit – Employers can allow employees to reserve income on a pre- tax basis to cover the cost – Employers can share the cost with employees p y p y• Employees can participate in commuter benefits programs only if the programs are offered by their employer.
  9. 9. Types of Qualified Commuter BenefitsTransit passes – up to $230 Vanpool fares – up to $230Bike expenses – up to $20 p p Qualified Parking – up to $230 g p
  10. 10. Benefit Options Option 1 Employer Paid: Employer provides up to $230 a month for transit and vanpooling costs. Employer Tax E l T Employee Tax E l T Benefit Benefit Employer pays no payroll Employee receives up to taxes on the benefit – $230 a month tax-free to use making it cheaper than transit or vanpools for their providing a comparable commute to work. work salary increase. Employees do not pay taxes on the value.(Savings vary, dependent upon employer type – private, federal/government, or non-profit)
  11. 11. Benefit Options Option 2 Employee Pre-Tax Deduction: Employer allows employees to reserve up to $230 a month in pre-tax income to pay for transit and vanpools. Employer Tax Employee Tax Benefit Benefit Employer pays no payroll Employee saves on income taxes on the income that is tax, payroll tax, and state tax reserved by the employee employee. (GA). (GA) Benefit is not treated as taxable salary.(Savings vary, dependent upon employer type – private, federal/government, or non-profit)
  12. 12. Benefit Options Option 3 Employee/Employer Share Costs: Employers pay transit/vanpool costs up to a certain limit and the employee pays for the remainder of costs through pre-tax payroll deduction. Can not exceed $230 monthly limit. Employer Tax Employee Tax Benefit Benefit For the employer paid portion Employee does not pay taxes the employer will pay no payroll on the portion of the benefit taxes (cheaper than salary provided by the employer. increase). E l i ) Employer saves Employee also saves on E l l payroll taxes on the portion of income/payroll tax by taking a the benefit paid for by pre-tax payroll deduction. employee’s pre-tax deduction.(Savings vary, dependent upon employer type – private, federal/government, or non-profit)
  13. 13. Commute Benefits Provide More for Less $50 salary increase Writes off expense for pays FICA corporate income taxesEmployer (7.65%) (40%, federal and state)Cost $ $34 + $4 - $20 pays FICA pays federal pays stateEmployee p oyee (7.65%) income tax (28%) income tax (6%)value $29 $ - $4 - $14 - $3 $50 transit/vanpool benefit Writes off expense forEmployer corporate income taxes (40%, federal + state)Cost No FICA $30 - $20Employee No federal No statevalue No FICA income taxes income taxes $50 Slide provided by Best Work Place for Commuters
  14. 14. Employer Services• Free consultation with a nationally recognized telework / Commuter Choice expert• Provide a company specific alternative commute option p p plan or improve your organization’s green g g initiatives• Host free seminars that help you improve your bottom line
  15. 15. Employer Services• BATMA works in partnership with the RideSmart division of the Atlanta Regional Commission• RideSmart can have your organization ride matched and i di id l ride match d individual id t h letters prepared for all of y your employees p y• Guaranteed Ride Home•
  16. 16. Employer Services• Provide you with marketing materials to encourage the use of alternative commute options• Conduct onsite events; lunch and learns learns, lunch room displays, etc. etc• As a tenant, our services are free to you
  17. 17. IncentivesCash for CommutersEarn $ a day up to $ $3 $100Pool PerksEarn $20 for two people carpoolingCarpool RewardsEarn $40 or $60 gas cards forcarpooling liCommuter PrizesEarn $25 Visa gift cardVanpool SubsidiesFlat rate of $75, $90, or $100
  18. 18. It must have been something I ate…The Guaranteed Ride Home program (GRH) providescommuters who carpool, vanpool, walk, bik or t k transit t h l l lk bike take t itto work with up to five free taxi rides home or to their car inthe event of one of the following: g•You or an immediate familymember’s illness•You or your commute partner(s)have to work mandatoryunscheduled overtime•You or your commute partner(s) getsick at work and have to leave early
  19. 19. BATMA’s Efforts BATMA sIn 200844.11 Tons of Emissions Eliminated +6 tons over 2007 - i t increase of 16% f26,361,429 of Vehicle Miles Reduced +4 Million over 2007 - increase of 18% Miles reduced equals 1,062 trips 1 062 around the Earth or 410,998 trips around Interstate 285. 9 Adult Elephants
  20. 20. Resources