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The IRS says no to bike share programs.

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The IRS says no to bike share programs.

Old 10-29-13, 07:34 AM
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kjmillig
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The IRS says no to bike share programs.

The IRS has disallowed bike share use to be included in employer transportation benefits.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwo...es-bike-share/
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Old 10-29-13, 07:47 AM
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Old 10-29-13, 08:11 AM
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How did I not know of this benefit?

$20/month tax-free for purchase, repair, maintenance, and storage of a bicycle used "regularly" for commuting.
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Old 10-29-13, 08:27 AM
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I didn't know either, but I just contacted my HR department about it. I knew about the benefit as it relates to public transit, but had no idea bicycles shared in it as well. Not much money, but every bit helps.
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Old 10-29-13, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
How did I not know of this benefit?

$20/month tax-free for purchase, repair, maintenance, and storage of a bicycle used "regularly" for commuting.
There are caveats to that benefit. From the IRS

Exempt1 up to certain limits if for rides in a commuter highway vehicle and/or transit passes ($245), qualified parking ($245), or qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement 6 ($20). (See Transportation (Commuting) Benefits , later in this section.)

6 If the employee receives a qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement in a qualified bicycle commuting month, the employee cannot receive commuter highway vehicle, transit pass, or qualified parking benefits in that same month.
If you van pool, you can get up to $245 per month in tax exemption. If you get parking, you can get up to $245 per month in tax exemption. If you get a transit pass, you can get up to $245 month in tax exemption but if you bicycle and you get one of those benefits, no bike reimbursement for you!

My employer participates in an Ecopass program with RTD here in Denver. I might use my Ecopass once a year, tops. That's about $2 per year benefit I get from the Ecopass. But, because my employer gives all employees an Ecopass (which is a stipulation of the Ecopass program), I get no bicycle benefit.

We have a van pool program around here for the people who live way out in the sticks. They get the $245 per month reimbursement even with the Ecopass program. They are contributing to sprawl and air pollution and water pollution and all the things that go along with living long distances (some up to 75 miles) but they are "green" and deserve extra credit for putting 6 bodies in a van. I ride a bike to work, save 2 tons of carbon a year (40 tons since 1988), save about 1000 gallons of gas per year (7500 gallons since 1988) and reduce congestion significantly but, because I ride a "toy", Congress has decided that I don't deserve any extra benefit. Chaps my hide
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Old 10-29-13, 08:47 AM
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I've known of that benefit in the past but my employer at the time did not want to participate in any of it as I was the only one to be so foolish to commute to work by bike. LOL> Its the same thing with my present employer. Commuters are so few that these benefits rarely got used and will go away after a while.
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Old 10-29-13, 08:50 AM
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325,000 bikes so far have been bought through this programme:

https://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/

scheme overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_to_Work_scheme
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Old 10-29-13, 09:20 AM
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An ocean lies between the 2.
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Old 10-29-13, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
An ocean lies between the 2.
If one doesn't have an example of a successful programme, how can one effectively persuade their local representatives?
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Old 10-29-13, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
There are caveats to that benefit. From the IRS

If you van pool, you can get up to $245 per month in tax exemption. If you get parking, you can get up to $245 per month in tax exemption. If you get a transit pass, you can get up to $245 month in tax exemption but if you bicycle and you get one of those benefits, no bike reimbursement for you!
Hmmm, I was a little excited at first, but now I'm confused. Is this IRS document addressed to employers or individual tax payers? I don't see how "Bicycle Commuting" is a fringe benefit offered to me by my employer. Is this a $20/mo * 12mo = $240 deduction I put in a particular box on Sked A or something? Or is this just saying, it is IRS-allowable for my company to incentivize bike commuting by offering me a tax-free $20/mo?
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Old 10-29-13, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Hmmm, I was a little excited at first, but now I'm confused. Is this IRS document addressed to employers or individual tax payers? I don't see how "Bicycle Commuting" is a fringe benefit offered to me by my employer. Is this a $20/mo * 12mo = $240 deduction I put in a particular box on Sked A or something? Or is this just saying, it is IRS-allowable for my company to incentivize bike commuting by offering me a tax-free $20/mo?
It's a benefit from your employer like parking or vanpool or a bus pass would be. It's not a tax deduction...and I'm sorry that I used that language in my post A company can use it to incentivize bike commuting but few of them do as far as I know.
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Old 10-29-13, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
325,000 bikes so far have been bought through this programme:

https://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/

scheme overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_to_Work_scheme
Different program. The program that the Forbes article is talking about are like the B-Cycle program in Denver, the Bay Area Bicycle Share program in San Francisco or the Barclay's Cycle Hire program in London. The B-Cycle program has a fee that you can pay if you use it frequently enough or use the bicycles long enough to incur a cost. Employers appear to have been offering this as a benefit that wasn't taxed but the IRS decided otherwise. I suspect that something like the cyclescheme wouldn't fly with the IRS as well because of the language in the law that set up the bicycle commuter benefit. Here's a pretty good summary of the commuter benefits available to cars, van pools, parking and bicycles. Bicycles definitely get the fuzzy end of the lollypop for commuting costs while giving society the greatest benefit...damn car centric society!
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Old 10-29-13, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
It's a benefit from your employer like parking or vanpool or a bus pass would be. It's not a tax deduction...and I'm sorry that I used that language in my post A company can use it to incentivize bike commuting but few of them do as far as I know.
OK, thanks for the clarification. I thought I just fell into a $240*marginal tax rate windfall and started shopping for master-link removal pliers!

However, I will try to find an appropriate bean-counter to forward the alternative transportation incentive info to, probably to no avail.
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