Good News for Vanpoolers

userpic=vanpoolingBy now, everyone knows that the fiscal cliff has been averted, and a compromise bill passed. What you probably don’t know is everything that was in the bill. It is your usual mix of good and bad, but there is some good news for those of us that commute via shared rides (buspools, vanpools): the commuter tax benefit has been restored. According to LA Metro:

As part of the fiscal cliff legislation adopted by the Senate and House yesterday, a provision was included that will extend (through December 31, 2013) the increase in the monthly exclusion for employer-provided transit and vanpool benefits from $125 to $240.  By increasing the monthly exclusion for transit and vanpool participants, the benefit now matches those provided for employer-provided parking benefits.

Further, according to the American Public Transportation Association:

Under the new “fiscal cliff” legislation passed by Congress this week, the parity between public transit and parking benefits are now up to $240 a month and are retroactive from January 1, 2012. This will expire on December 31, 2013.

This is a significant jump, and drastically reduces commuting costs. I have no idea whether “the ranch” will provide the retroactive side of the benefits; I could see that as an accounting nightmare.

There were also improved benefits for those that used Compressed Natural Gas (CNG): “Also included in the fiscal cliff legislation was a provision to extend, for one year, the CNG tax credit. In addition to being extended through December 31, 2013, the CNG tax credit language included in the final bill provides for the tax credits to be retroactive for 2012.” This is of significant benefit to public transit agencies.


2 Replies to “Good News for Vanpoolers”

  1. I’m puzzled and somewhat annoyed by the retroactive aspect. My company allows me to specify how many pre-tax and post tax dollars I want to devote to our transit card benefit. All last year I kept the post tax dollars at 0 – what was the point after all. So even if the company was to step up to the accounting nightmare of redoing all our income for the year to reflect this change, I don’t see any way I can get reimbursed for the dollars I didn’t put in the program.

    1. Here at the Ranch, we get reimbursed for what the monthly vanpool charge is, up to $125. The vanpool operator submits a form where he lists the amount each person was charged each month. So I guess they could go back and figure out the amount, but I have no idea if they will. If they did, they would need to then issue checks to people who have subsequently been RIFed and left the company. I can see it being a mess.

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