Will biking become a commuter benefit again?
When Congress passed tax cuts in 2017, bike commuters were hit hard. As part of the legislation, tax credits they could use as part of commuter benefits were eliminated.
Ever since the tax credit was eliminated, some elected officials have tried to get it reinstated. This year includes a proposal that offers the best benefits for bike riders yet.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon has introduced The Bicycle Commuter Act of 2021. The act could have a significant impact on bike commuters.
Biking would be included as a pre-tax commuter benefit. That’s how transit, rideshares and parking are currently treated. Employees can save money tax-free from their paychecks and use it to pay for transportation or parking costs. If passed, the legislation would do the same for bike commuters.
Employees would get up to 30 percent of the parking benefit if they bike. That’s about $81 per month. The bike benefit would also be eligible to be used along with parking and transit benefits.
The $81 per month benefit is an increase from the $54 per month reimbursement included in the previous proposals. And in the prior commuter benefits legislation, bike commuters were only receiving $20 per month.
Now, bicycle commuters are looking at almost $1,000 per year in tax-free savings if the act becomes law.
Reimbursement is not the only thing that is included in the act. Micromobility transportation is also part of the legislation as bike shares and e-bikes would be included for commuter benefits reimbursement.
Blumenauer is also sponsoring another bill that would provide dedicated funding for bike shares. Bike shares would be able to receive funding that could help them build and maintain facilities. There are about 120 bike shares across the United States, but they are not eligible for federal funding at this time.
Prior attempts to get bicycle commuting eligible for commuter benefits again have failed. However, with COVID-19 changing commuting patterns, it’s more important than ever to allow cyclists to get reimbursed for their commuting costs as more people will be biking to work.
If you’d like more information on how commuter benefits can help your company, visit us at www.commuterbenefits.com for more information.