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bailout bill includes bike benefits

Old 10-14-08, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by dscheidt
The version of the bank bailout bill passed by the senate adds a provision that allows employers to provide up to $20/month in pre-tax money for bike commuting expenses. I believe that you can't get the public transportation benefits at the same time, but I'm not sure.

Congress can find more bullschit ways to spend money they and we don't have. Oh yeah, they can just order more currency printed up can't they? What will that do for inflation? All those billions of dollars of extras the democrats added to the bill should have been flung out a window, that money could have been used to do the bank bailout they did today instead of having to come up with even more.

This country is entering a new phase of capitalism, it's called state capitalism.

Whether you think this is true or not, America is in big dodo. All the people living in America cannot possibly pay the national debt back. Do you really think that Barack Obama can handle the economic problem by only having to tax people that make over $250,000 a year? NO WAY. Eventually any president, rep or dem will have to raise taxes on ALL Americans no matter of income. Even in the Sci Fi world of Obama's mind if his plan would work those taxes would STILL have to be filtered down to us in the form of lower wages, less jobs, higher cost of goods, etc etc etc (all of this was tried in the past with dismal results). Then on top of all of that, Obama thinks America has enough taxable income to afford everyone national health insurance!! Hell we can't even afford the interest on the national debt, we had to borrow money to pay the interest! how in the world are we going to afford national health insurance? WAKE UP FOLKS...WE'RE GETTING SCREWED...especially our children!!!!!
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Old 10-15-08, 09:07 AM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by freako
Congress can find more bullschit ways to spend money they and we don't have. Oh yeah, they can just order more currency printed up can't they? What will that do for inflation? All those billions of dollars of extras the democrats added to the bill should have been flung out a window, that money could have been used to do the bank bailout they did today instead of having to come up with even more.

This country is entering a new phase of capitalism, it's called state capitalism.

Whether you think this is true or not, America is in big dodo. All the people living in America cannot possibly pay the national debt back. Do you really think that Barack Obama can handle the economic problem by only having to tax people that make over $250,000 a year? NO WAY. Eventually any president, rep or dem will have to raise taxes on ALL Americans no matter of income. Even in the Sci Fi world of Obama's mind if his plan would work those taxes would STILL have to be filtered down to us in the form of lower wages, less jobs, higher cost of goods, etc etc etc (all of this was tried in the past with dismal results). Then on top of all of that, Obama thinks America has enough taxable income to afford everyone national health insurance!! Hell we can't even afford the interest on the national debt, we had to borrow money to pay the interest! how in the world are we going to afford national health insurance? WAKE UP FOLKS...WE'RE GETTING SCREWED...especially our children!!!!!

Would you mind keeping your political rhetoric limited to the Politics and Religion forum room only. No one here wants to read it. If we do we will go to the P&S forum room to do so.
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Old 10-16-08, 09:57 AM
  #103  
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Help Me

I work in OH at a company called Hobart Corporation that a few years ago was bought out by Illinois Tool Works (ITW). ITW owns thousands of companies, manages them, but lets them keep their name. At my company there has recently been a "sustainability" push and a committee was formed to come up with ideas.

So I went to the meeting today and the response I got from the Head of HR, who is also on the committee, is that ITW can't recognize bikers because what are they going to do about people who walk to work, or people who are carpooling or buying hybrids or buying smaller cars to save gas. So, I basically got shot down very quickly at my first meeting.

So how do I answer that? My first thought is that people who buy hybrids already get tax breaks...but what about people who carpool or downsize from a truck to a Geo Metro? And what about walkers? My HR lady said they have to buy tennis shoes.

I myself live 5 blocks from where I work. On the days that I do walk I wear my Casual Loafers, which is what I wear everyday.

Another question I have is what, if someone's employer agreed, can be expensed? Can you expense clothing gear for riding or is it only items related to the bike specifically? Can I expense the Balaclava that I bought or only the new tire tubes?

Thanks
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Old 10-16-08, 01:20 PM
  #104  
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If I am not mistaken, your employer could actually allow walkers and carpoolers to claim more money, under the same tax law, (the Bicycle Commuting Act is an addendum to a law that has been on the books since the late 90s).

You'll have to do a little more research on this, but I think this is correct.
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Old 10-27-08, 12:24 PM
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Agreed! Our congress can't decide between chicken and tuna for lunch. That decision would require months of study and debate.
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Old 10-28-08, 06:47 AM
  #106  
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So I got this back from my HR. Looks like none of us will see this in 2009 as most companies use the same vendors for these benefits:

Thank you for contacting HR.

Thanks for your question. To secure enough votes for the economic bailout rescue package, many provisions were added to the legislation to ensure votes from individual congressmen. Unfortunately since the provision was moved in so rapidly there was not time for discussion or guidance as to how this would be administrated. This was added under IRS Section 132 which is the same section that defines the Commuter spending accounts for Transportation and Parking.

The new legislation does specify that if you participate in tax free transportation or parking accounts you are not eligible for the bicycle benefit. Additionally, the benefit -- up to $20 per month for reimbursement of "reasonable" expenses related to the bike commute, including equipment purchases, bike purchases, repairs, and storage if the bicycle is used “regularly” for the commuter's trip to work from home for the month.

This benefit certainly does interest us not only in the “green” arena but also in supporting healthy lifestyles. But it does mean that because of the exclusion of those that are currently enrolled in our Commuter Spending Account, it will likely need to be administered by the same vendor. Vendors are not yet prepared to administer this benefit as they and us are looking to the IRS to provide guidance on what constitutes reasonable expenses, how expenses are to be substantiated and a definition of “regularly”.

Once we receive guidance from the IRS, it will be much easier to determine if this benefit can be added to our current offerings.


Thanks.

Human Resources
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Old 10-31-08, 09:14 PM
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Some of you are a bunch of whiners...seriously. Somebody finds a positive feature directly related to the biking community, in that ridiculous bailout plan, and you whine about it? How about this...all of those who commute and don't want the $240.00, pm me and I will give you my name and address and you can send it directly to my bicycle commuting fund.
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Old 11-02-08, 06:46 AM
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For what it's worth, here's a piece about this that was on NPR's "Living on Earth" program this morning. The link to the audio version is near the top of the page:

https://www.loe.org/shows/segments.ht...44&segmentID=7
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Old 11-03-08, 03:11 AM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by BoiseShwin
Some of you are a bunch of whiners...seriously. Somebody finds a positive feature directly related to the biking community, in that ridiculous bailout plan, and you whine about it? How about this...all of those who commute and don't want the $240.00, pm me and I will give you my name and address and you can send it directly to my bicycle commuting fund.
All I'd want is some Schwinn like parts for the Schwinn like frame I bought when I really wanted my '95 Schwinn Cruiser SS BACK.

Walking can hurt sometimes. Oh, well, Christmas shopping for thugs comes early in Ontario, Oregon.
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Old 11-12-08, 03:18 PM
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That's $20 bux I didn't have before.
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Old 01-07-09, 07:58 PM
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Okay, now that it's 2009, has anyone ACTUALLY seen any sort of action or implementation of this plan at their workplace?

I keep bugging my HR representative, but she's very slow to respond. I thought it would be great if there was a success story out there... somewhere? Anyone???
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Old 01-08-09, 09:44 AM
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My company is working with https://www.accorservicesusa.com/home.aspx to provide this bike commuting benefit. At our company, the $20 per month will be pre-tax salary, not added income from our employer, although I think employers have the option of providing the benefit as added, tax-free income if they so chose. This page describes in more detail a voucher program in which the commuting benefit administration company provides $20 vouchers to spend at bike shops.

There are lots of unanswered questions about how the voucher program will work.

How will bike shops handle the vouchers?
Which shops will accept them? (A few calls yesterday to local bike shops confirmed our hunch that they have no idea about the voucher program, although some were aware of the new law).
Will they be usable online?
Will they expire?
What items/services can we buy with the vouchers?

and I'm sure the list goes on.

I'll reply again in March, when our company says the vouchers will be available.
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Old 01-08-09, 10:00 AM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by floriderron
That's $20 bux I didn't have before.
And it's $20 you don't have now either.

Every company that is researching this has already spent more money doing so than they'll pay out to the few who ride. It's a waste of resources on multiple levels.
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Old 01-08-09, 11:15 AM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by JeffS
And it's $20 you don't have now either.
Every company that is researching this has already spent more money doing so than they'll pay out to the few who ride. It's a waste of resources on multiple levels.
I don't know my company and their vendor haven't spent much
According to them I'm the only person who even asked about it and though they have heard of it they have no intention of offering it even though I pointed out other vendors plan to have it setup in late first quarter. Perhaps they'll offer it in 2010 after all the other vendors have it setup. The way metro and parking is setup we'd have to submit receipts to get the pre-tax pay put into our account for it to work so at least we'd avoid the voucher problem?!

And sadly they took away the towel service at the building gym and raised the rates apparantly as some evil karma punishment for me asking.
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Old 01-08-09, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by evblazer
I don't know my company and their vendor haven't spent much
Which would explain why you're not receiving it right?
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Old 01-08-09, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffS
Which would explain why you're not receiving it right?
Hm.. So that twenty I found in my cube wasn't my bike benefit? shucks.

Actually my company might not be the one to lead the way even though we have the rest of the commuter reimbursement policy setup. If it wasn't for the senior leadership in the northeast corridor and/or their direct reports getting a benefit for parking and using mass transit we'd wouldn't have that either.

With over 4000 locations in my company there might be another bike commuter out there but I wouldn't know it. I wondered at one point if perhaps hundreds or thousands have called but they were just counting on the fact that none of us knew anyone else since we are so few and far between.
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Old 01-08-09, 01:22 PM
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I'm setting up a S.132 plan at my work. There are a few people who will greatly benefit from the mass transit deduction. We're a non-profit so we won't be chipping in any amount, but a few of us that ride the train will get a tax break. (I'm the only bike commuter, but I'm taking the transit benefit instead)

To those of you saying it's not worth it to the employer, you should crunch some numbers. When employees take pre-tax deductions then the employee AND employer avoid paying FICA taxes. This might be a good selling point if you're trying to convince your employer to add the plan.

Plan documents cost us all $(not a lot), and annual administration is only $(not much)ish. Most Third party Administrators will charge a bit more, but the plan is so simple and easy to administer they'd be foolish to use the TPA like they would for other fringe benefits like S.125 plans.

https://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/500180-clearer-explaination-new-bicycle-reimbursment-please.html

Nothing in this post should be construed as official tax advice or otherwise; or even remotely accurate. This post is personal and has nothing to do with my company or my employment as an HR guy. Figures are fabricated Cheers! Steve
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Old 01-12-09, 04:31 PM
  #118  
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OKAY, BIG CLARIFICATION.

"May Employees Use Pre-Tax Compensation To Fund this Benefit?

No. Unlike other qualified transportation fringe benefits, employees may not pay for this benefit using pre-tax compensation. The bicycle benefit is funded solely with employer contributions."

I just read this in HR Magazine. So, that means that you cannot use your own pre-tax income to pay. Your employer must be kind enough to give you the $20 (and take the write off). This makes sense considering the nature of the money that's funding it...I think. I've been wrong before, obviously
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Old 01-17-09, 02:28 PM
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Is there not a incentive for the use of public trans as well?

I am in a position where I bike 1/2 way and bus or take the train the other half.

I would dig on receiving $20 a month to bike, and have my transit covered to boot!
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