Congress Passes Tax Extension Legislation
Legislation Includes Provision to Retroactively Extend Parity for 2014 - No Impact on 2015
The 113th Congress closed on December 16, 2014, but not before the Senate cleared legislation that extends more than fifty tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013. The action Congress has taken retroactively extends these provisions for 2014, but does not extend them into 2015. Included in this legislation is a provision that retroactively extends the transit benefit for 2014. As a result, the transit/vanpool benefit for 2014 will retroactively increase from $130/month to $250/month.
The provision will have little impact on commuters, as employees are only able to take advantage of the provision if their employer withheld above the monthly caps. ACT member and transit benefit provider Edenred has provided a primer that explains retroactive transit benefits (PDF).
"ACT is disappointed that Congress was unable to come to an agreement that would provide certainty for millions of commuters," said ACT Executive Director Mark Wright. "Retroactive action does nothing to promote transportation options and provides confusion and administrative headaches. However, we appreciate the efforts made at the end of the 113th Congress and are encouraged by the bipartisan action and support that has been taken to date. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and hope to find a solution early in the new Congress."
Commute.org's New Video Encourages Commuters to Rethink Their Commute
San Francisco Bay Area employers with 50 or more full-time employees within the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) geographic boundaries were required to register and offer commuter benefits to their employees by September 30, 2014 in order to comply with Air District Regulation 14, Rule 1, the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program. Employers must select one of four Commuter Benefit options to offer their employees. Commuter benefits encourage employees to take transit, vanpool, carpool, bicycle and walk rather than drive alone to work.
Employers were required to register by September 30. Those that have not registered, should do so now:
Step 1: if you have not registered, do so as soon as possible;
Step 2: offer benefits to employees if you have not yet;
Step 3: request an extension from the Air District if you need more time to offer benefits.
Employers that need an extension to offer commuter benefits should contact the Air District at email@example.com. In the email, please indicate the reason for the extension and specify the date by which benefits will be offered to employees. Please include your employer ID # if you have this available.
Employers with fewer than 50 Bay Area employees may be subject to a local commuter benefits ordinance.
Commute.org is working with the MTC and BAAQMD to provide support and guidance to businesses in San Mateo County. We encourage you to read the information about the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program provided on the 511.org web site. If your business or organization has questions about providing pre-tax commute benefits, please contact us at Commute.org and we will guide you through the process.