Everything you need to know about commuter benefits

Everything you need to know about commuter benefits

Commuter benefits are often overlooked but can offer many potential advantages for employees and can bolster an employer’s benefit package to make it more appealing for job applicants. These benefits ease the burden of a daily commute by allowing employees to put away pre-tax dollars to help cover eligible parking and transportation expenses.

Costs

Participants choose how much they invest each month for eligible commuter expenses and each dollar that goes into the plan is free from federal, state and, in most cases, Social Security taxes. Amounts are capped by monthly contribution limits set by the government each year. The 2019 contribution limits for parking and transit expenses are listed below.

  • $265/month for transit expenses
  • $265/month for parking expenses

If more than $265 per month for either type of expense is loaded into the account, those additional funds do not qualify for the pre-tax status and are considered post-tax contributions. Employers may also note that as of December 22, 2017 they can no longer receive a federal tax deduction for offering commuter benefits, such as providing mass transit or parking benefits, unless it is required for employee safety.

Enrollment

Commuter benefits are only available to employees if their company has a commuter benefits program. In most cases participants can enroll in commuter benefits at any time during the year and the benefits will be effective the first month possible following their enrollment. Contributions to a participant’s account can change monthly, if necessary. This extra flexibility can account for a change in transportation method or location to cover expenses accordingly.

Accessing funds

With NueSynergy, participants can access their commuter benefit funds by simply paying with their NueSynergy benefits card for any approved expenses as they are incurred. This makes covering commuter expenses incredibly simple. Participants can also pay with their personal payment method and submit claims for reimbursement.

Eligible expenses

Commuter benefit plans can be especially beneficial in urban areas with public transport or paid parking garages employees must park in. Eligible expenses include parking, mass transit and/or vanpooling expenses incurred by a participant while commuting to and from a place of work. These expenses are only considered eligible for the participant and do not cover spouse or dependent commuter expenses.

It is also important to note that expenses for car fuel, mileage, tolls and parking expenses incurred at home are not eligible expenses. Additionally, taxis are not considered a mass transit or vanpool expense and are therefore also not an eligible expense.

Overall, commuter benefits can save employees money and can be a great perk for employers to take their benefit package to the next level. If you have any further questions about commuter benefits or are interested in getting a commuter benefits program, please contact NueSynergy today at 855.890.7239.