December 9, 2014
At the beginning of 2014, workers who use public transit saw the pre-tax monthly limit on the transit portion of the Commuter Benefit shrink from $245 to $130 per month, while workers who drive and pay for parking saw their benefits rise to $250 per month. This imbalance in the tax code means that transit users could pay as much as $565 in higher taxes annually, while creating a perverse favoritism in the tax code for automobile commuting.
Last week, the House passed the Tax Extenders Bill including a provision to restore parity between the parking and transit commuter tax benefit for 2014. The change to the transit provision of the commuter benefit in the Tax Extenders Bill was retroactive for 2014, like all of the provisions for 2014. However, due to the way that the benefits are administered, transit commuters will likely not be able to take advantage of them. Experts on the legislation indicated its inclusion even retroactively is beneficial for future efforts to make benefit parity permanent.
Here’s why we think working towards permanent benefit parity makes good policy:
The NAPTA Advisory Board asks that transit advocates continue to urge Congress to pass legislation making benefit parity permanent.