Bicycle Commuter Act - Do You?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bicycle Commuter Act - Do You?

    How many commuters out there work for a company that uses the Bicycle Commuter Act to get them $20 tax-free a month? I proposed this to the president of my company in January 2009 and it was passed to accounting -- I think that means "don't bother".
    Remember, nobody knows. So let's find out...

  2. #2
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    The major financial institution I work for gives us a $20 alternative commuter benefit (carpool, bus, lightrail, etc). I take advantage of it.

  3. #3
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    I passed the info on to my HR guy(a fair weater commuter). sadly, it seem to have stalled there

  4. #4
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    I asked about this too, here is the response I got from HR:

    DHR responded to me that this matter did came up in bargaining this year and did not move forward. This commuter reimbursement is considered a benefit and consequently is a mandatory subject of bargaining. The window of opportunity to have this part of the bargaining is closed for the next contract period.

    Im sorry to have to report on such negative news on Friday afternoon. I think it should be brought up again for the next contract period. Id let your [union] rep. know that this is an important thing to do. Best of luck with the bike commuting. I am part of a 5 person carpool which works really well. We have three members who actually do bike home or to the Richmond park and ride during the spring/summer/fall months. They would appreciate your efforts. More voices need to be hear about this prior to the next bargaining session.

    Thank you for bringing this up. Hope you have a lovely weekend.


    Since they've been laying people off it probably wasn't the best time to get it approved, though I can't imagine it would cost any serious money given people's attachment to their cars & the lack of prime biking weather here. Several other bikers want to organize & try to get it through next time 'round.
    When I looked into it I only ran across info about 1 company in VT participating in this...a food coop in Burlington called City Market (now hiring someone with a culinary degree or 2yr exp!).

  5. #5
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    I almost posted this question last week. I have never actually heard of any bicycle commuter actually benefitting from this law. I asked at my work. Never even got a verification that anyone actually heard the question.
    Last edited by CommuterBoy; 02-03-2010 at 11:39 AM.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  6. #6
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    double post...........................................
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  7. #7
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    I asked at mine too and they bounced it up to corporate. They said that usually an outside company does it and basically that they have no motivation to do it. Which is a great message considering how huge the company I work for is. How responsible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    I asked at mine too and they bounced it up to corporate. They said that usually an outside company does it and basically that they have no motivation to do it. Which is a great message considering how huge the company I work for is. How responsible.
    Don't feel too bad - I work for an environmental agency! No support for BIKES but we managed to FLY the top dog to Copenhagen for the talks on GLOBAL WARMING.

  9. #9
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    I thought it was a great idea when I saw it, but I work for a small company and trying to get Paychex to implement something like that is hardly worth $20 considering it would probably take hours to get it straight. If I could actually get all the money I spend on bikes tax free, that would be worth it. Still though, good to see something to help commuters.

  10. #10
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    As much as I like the idea of programs that support bicycle commuting (as well as other alternative forms of transportation), I am not a fan of anything that adds complexity to our already convoluted tax code. And the upside of the $20/month would be far offset by the aggravation of trying to get this through HR/Payroll.

    I guess that I will just have to keep biking to work for my own selfish reasons.

  11. #11
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    My local personell dept told me to eMail Chicago. I didn`t.
    Recalculating....

  12. #12
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    My employer has been doing this already for years. The only downside is that it is not exempt from taxation. Oh well....
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  13. #13
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    Man, I had wondered who also benefited from this since I started commuting to work last year. I'm a Store Manager at a Batteries Plus in northeast Florida, and I have convinced the franchise owner to support the Bicycle Commuter Act. All that's required is for me to keep all receipts that's bike related, and "if I wanted to" log my days I ride to work. We're a small staff, so we can get away with it I presume.

    I convinced the other Store Manager at another location to buy a commuter bike for the New Year's to help one of his resolutions to lose weight, so he's on the ball, and another one of my employees rides a 35 mile roundtrip on his Felt roadbike. The other manager has since lost 12 pounds and dropping weight like crazy!

    So far, I've used the money for fun stuff like booties for my Bontragers, cleats, tube, CO2, and maybe towards some upgraded components on the 29er. $20/month doesn't seem much, but $240/yr can go a long way. I mean getting gas once a month on the race-car, and getting paid to commute, I'm set.

    I definitely support cyclists whether you're a commuter or not. I offer 20% off on ALL bateries.

  14. #14
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    ^^Wow, that is very impressive, Lunarfx, you must have great "convincing" skills. The other manager may need to change the store name to "Batteries Minus" though.

  15. #15
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    It took a couple of us at my work around a year, but HR just confirmed that it is finally a go! It only makes sense, I work for a conservation organization.

  16. #16
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    I don`t think my employer could be considered very green. The plant I work in has 7 rotogravure presses that are each capable of runing a 7000# roll of paper (about 3.5 ft dia and up to 108in wide) and turning it into Sunday paper ads for department stores in about 45 minutes. They do recycle a couple truckloads of waste every week though, if that counts for anything.
    Recalculating....

  17. #17
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    we are dreaming on bike lanes here so thinking about a benefit for doing it is just unlikely.

    paper ads dude...I'm going to start bring all the "volanteo" this people do everyday here to the recycle bin at the office...If I were out for a month I would find a ton of paper in my front door for sure.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer
    ^^Wow, that is very impressive, Lunarfx, you must have great "convincing" skills. The other manager may need to change the store name to "Batteries Minus" though.
    I honestly didn't think it was going to fly because the owner is such a penny pincher, not to mention old fashioned. I kept teasing him that I put more miles on the mountain bike than his Harley Davidson a month to where he felt compelled to give us the incentive. Working hard for the company, and becoming a manager in record time, makes it real convincing. But yes, the manager at the other store bought a nice Giant to commute to work.

    On a side note, I flew to Wisconsin for training 3 weeks ago, and had the opportunity to tour the corporate headquarters of Batteries Plus. Wouldn't you know it, I found a bike jersey with Batteries Plus as a major sponsor, in a frame directly in front of the CEO's office. The only picture I took there was of the framed bike jersey, and not with the CEO.

  19. #19
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    My company has 160+ employees, so I consider us not to be small. Headquarters is out east (in a bike-friendly area) and our branch is in the Midwest (in a definitely bike-friendly area). For 2009, we met our primary goal - to grow during a recession. I won't say by how much, 'cuz that would be telling. Congrats to anyone who gets their company to adopt the BCA! I just have to keep working on mine.
    Remember, nobody knows. So let's find out...

  20. #20
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    I asked about it at work, our PR gal new nothing about it. Hard to find anything online about how to do it. We are small, 13 working at the time. Sounds like it may be an awful lot of additional work for pr. Anybody have any good links to help us get set up?
    thanks

  21. #21
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    This seemed like the best site when I looked into it. It has the info they need, including the link to the IRS info for employers, some downloadable reimbursement cards for submitting receipts, and 1 company's guidelines.

    http://www.bikeleague.org/news/100708faq.php

  22. #22
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    Thank you, that looks like a good start.

  23. #23
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    IRS 2010 Publication 15-B

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p15b.pdf

    Do a search on "bicycle" and you get to "Transportation (Commuting) Benefits".
    Remember, nobody knows. So let's find out...

  24. #24
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    The corporate giant I work for is on a never ending cost cutting spree. To this end they outsource everything including management of incentive programs. The outfit that does it for them doesn't do this because it involves an up-front cost for the company.

    The bottom line:

    They are as environmentally conscious as anyone...as long as it's free or saves them money (ie: turning off computers/lights/etc.). Anything that has an associated cost is out of the question.

  25. #25
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    It's been so long ago since I too had to research a lot to make sure I had all my ducks in a row before presenting it to the boss. I do still have a good bit of the research I printed out, so if you'd like, give me a fax number and I can fax over what I have to help you out.

    Guys/gals, don't give up. Don't go in thinking there's no way they're going to approve this, keep trying and when it all comes down to it, they can do whatever the hell they want.

  26. #26
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    Have you noticed they have no trouble at all figuring out how to take all that money out of your check?!?!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer
    Have you noticed they have no trouble at all figuring out how to take all that money out of your check?!?!
    Yeah, they`ve got that part down just fine!
    Recalculating....

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer
    Have you noticed they have no trouble at all figuring out how to take all that money out of your check?!?!
    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Yeah, they`ve got that part down just fine!
    Since I pass out payroll for all three stores, and have also worked for Bank of America for almost a decade in the past, I'm pretty keen on deductions off my paycheck. Haven't noticed a thing but an increase in incentive per month!

    WMBigs, I faxed over the information to you this morning! Good luck!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by LUNARFX
    Since I pass out payroll for all three stores, and have also worked for Bank of America for almost a decade in the past, I'm pretty keen on deductions off my paycheck. Haven't noticed a thing but an increase in incentive per month!

    WMBigs, I faxed over the information to you this morning! Good luck!
    Yes, it was waiting for me when I got to work. Gave a copy to payroll. Hopefully I can get it going soon. We have had ice on the side streets for 6 weeks now. Getting real old. Supposed to get in the forties in a few days.
    Thanks for the info, MikeB

  30. #30
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    Remember, nobody knows. So let's find out...

  31. #31
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    ^^ I was just about to post that. Good info.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  32. #32
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    Hell froze over

    So I emailed the HR department and asked them if they help pay for car pools. They came back and said "Yes, what do you need to expense?" So then I said, "Actually, I was more interested in the BCA. It's covered under the same section in the tax code." So then they said, "Really? Let's send it up to the head of HR for approval." Then the head of HR sent it to the president (of our company) for approval. Then the president said "OK".

    Remember, nobody knows. So let's find out...

  33. #33
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    Bike Commuter Act.....a Real Let Down

    So I'm not a tax guy, nor do I get into all the nuiances of politics, and although I really appreciate the effort, the Bike Commuter Act is a real let down. The trick is its puts the responsibility on the employer, which means we all have to lobby our employer to support it. We're certainly not a majority in any company, so we have to be a squeaky wheel to get any action. And in essence, you're asking for a raise because you bike and try to save the environment a little.

    I would have preferred a program, where its an individual tax break. You collect your biking receipts, maybe get some type of program documentation or letter from your employer stating that you do bike to work, and then you submit the credit on your individual tax return. Not much different than charitable contributions, right? The government doesn't make the charity set up a program for you. Nor does the chairty pay you for your donations and then submit the paperwork to the government to get credit for that payment. You submit your own receipts under your own tax return, which seems much simpler.

    Anyway, a little ranting on my part. I don't think I would have any problem setting up a bike commuter program at work to help jusify that bikers are indeed biking to work, and thus eligible for the tax incentive. Heck, I would even volunteer to run it myself. Its when I have to ask my employer to pony up the money is where they lose me. If they could get that part changed it would make me a very happy camper, and I think I could use this Act as a way to incentive more folks to bike commute (even though the actual incentive is small).

  34. #34
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike_Muchacho
    The trick is its puts the responsibility on the employer, which means we all have to lobby our employer to support it....

    Its when I have to ask my employer to pony up the money is where they lose me. If they could get that part changed it would make me a very happy camper, and I think I could use this Act as a way to incentive more folks to bike commute (even though the actual incentive is small).
    I wonder if there`s a method to the madness. PITA + need for a third party to volunteer money and time = less money to pay out (even though the actual incentive is small).
    Recalculating....

  35. #35
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    Just like an electric car?

    I like the comment a person makes at the end of this article, comparing the Bike Commuter Act to having a electric car. An electric car owner gets to take his tax benefits on his individual tax. He doesn't need to lobby his employer to do so.

  36. #36
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    I thought there were supposed to be some tax breaks as an incentive for the participating companies, but they must be pretty wimpy or we wouldn't have to be lobbying for our employers to offer the bike commuter benefit. You would also think this would be a pretty painless way for companies to join the go green craze, but go figure.

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