- Days left

Signing Up for Commuter Benefits Can Cut Your Tax Bill

If your employer offers this pretax subsidy, you can usually enroll anytime during the year.

×
Signing Up for Commuter Benefits
Ben Margot/AP
By Kimberly Lankford

My employer lets us set aside pretax money for commuting costs, but I didn't sign up at the beginning of the year. I just moved, and now I take the subway to work. Can I still get the subsidy? How much is it?

It's probably not too late. You can usually enroll anytime during the year for this monthly benefit. Contact your employer's benefits department to find out how to sign up.

Under the commuter benefits program, you can set aside up to $130 per month pretax for public transportation, such as the subway, bus or train.
People who drive to work can set aside up to $250 per month pretax for parking, and if you both drive and use public transportation -- if you, say, drive to a park-and-ride lot at the subway or commuter rail station-- then you can take both benefits and set aside $380 per month.

Once you enroll, your employer will automatically set aside the money, which won't be subject to income, Social Security or Medicare taxes. You can tell the benefits department to stop setting aside money -- usually for full-month increments -- if, for example, you'll be out of the office for a few weeks. You can then resume the benefits.

Keep an eye out for an increase in the commuter benefit limit. In past years, the public transportation and parking subsidies were the same, and Congress may still bump up the public transportation benefits for 2014 to match the parking benefits. "In the coming weeks, Congress will be determining if and how they will address a tax-extenders package, including commuter benefits," says Dan Neuburger, president of commuter services at WageWorks, which administers pretax benefits for employers. See WageWorks' employee site for more information and updates.


More from Kiplinger


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Introduction to Preferred Shares

Learn the difference between preferred and common shares.

View Course »

How to Avoid Financial Scams

Avoid getting duped by financial scams.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Will Medicare/Medicaid be Impacted by ACA?

The Affordable Care Act put in place significant tax-related programs that impact Medicare and Medicaid, such as increased Medicare taxes on earned and unearned income for high-wage earners, and Medicaid changes that increase the number of insured individuals. Establishing whether you are affected by the ACA-imposed taxes, or are eligible for certain health programs that fall under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is determined by filing your income tax.

8 Things You Think Are Tax Deductible That Aren't

There?s a fine line between looking to save money on your taxes and taking deductions that will raise eyebrows at the Internal Revenue Service. Some taxpayers are tripped up by expenses that they assume are tax deductions, but don?t qualify under IRS guidelines. Here are a dozen items that can lead to unpleasant surprises in case of an audit.

Essential Tax Forms for the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as Obamacare, affects how millions of Americans will prepare their taxes in the new year. The law now includes penalties for all who haven?t obtained health insurance -- and those penalties are expected to be paid at tax time. The ACA also provides tax credits to help people pay for insurance, and you can claim those credits when you file your taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has introduced a number of tax forms to accommodate the ACA.

How to Determine if You Have Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC)

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires most Americans to have health insurance that meets a government standard known as "minimum essential coverage," or MEC. Whether your insurance qualifies as MEC depends not on the plan itself, but on how you obtained your coverage.

What are 1095 Tax Forms for Health Care?

In 2014 the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare, introduced three new tax forms relevant to individuals, employers and health insurance providers. They are forms 1095-A, 1095-B and 1095-C. These forms help determine if you need to comply with the new shared responsibility payment, the fee you might have to pay if you don't have health insurance. For individuals who bought insurance through the health care marketplace, this information will help to determine whether you are able to receive an additional premium tax credit or have to pay some back.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum