A Little Transit Tax Break

Via the Transport Politic, the New York Times reports (scroll all the way down to “$192 million”) that the maximum employer tax deduction for transit benefits is being increased from $120 to $230 a month, which happens to be the current level of benefit for employers when providing parking.

Locally, you have to buy a $3.50 PugetPass to come up with $120 in expenses, so it should only really matter for some Sounder commuters.   Still, it’s a nice and inexpensive encouragement for employer incentive programs.  It also serves as a reminder of just one more hidden subsidy for drivers who are tired of having to subsidize other peoples’ transportation.

This was the key provision of Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s HR 6495 last year, and it’s good to see it slip into the stimulus.

About Martin H. Duke

Martin joined the blog in Fall 2007 and became Editor-in-Chief in 2009. He is originally from suburban DC, but has lived in the Greater Seattle area since 1997. He resides with his family in Columbia City and works as a software engineer in Lower Queen Anne.


  1. So if I don’t get such benefits from my employer at all, can I deduct the costs of transportation from my regular income? It seems like another example of subsidizing the costs of generous employers.

  2. Adding a flex car or taxi script benefit to employee transit packages would make them a lot more attractive, and realistic.


  1. [...] Secondly, many less-progressive employers still take advantage of federal tax provisions that allow pass purchases to be pre-tax. To the extent that pass sales equal fare revenue, this amounts to a 50% matching grant from the [...]

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