View Full Version : Help! No Bike Tax Credit?

06-08-2009, 05:07 PM
Hey forum folk - I got big trouble... maybe.

Where I work - the employer simply refuses to participate or initiate or set up a system for the employees to participate in the federal bike commuters tax credit.

I've read the stuff featured on bikeportland.org but I can't seem to figure out what our rights are - I mean... what do we do now?

We're a union shop... if that helps... and our employer is one of the largest in the state. We have to bargain and negotiate for a lot of stuff.

Help!??! Thanks in advance - you're the best knowledge base I can think of to get a solid answer. I owe you!

ME 2
06-08-2009, 05:27 PM
I think the American League of Bicycles had some information that might be helpful. You could also contact Blumenauher's office to see if they can provide any assistance. It'd be kind of ironic if your company is in his district and they chose not to comply.

Do you get any other kind of tax break for not driving at your job? My employer offers a $70 "transit" tax credit and that was the reason why they aren't implementing the bike tax credit at my work. I remember seeing language somewhere that said companies that already offer some form of alternative transportation tax credit don't have to offer this one as well.

06-08-2009, 07:37 PM
Thanks ME2 - We do get a public transit bonus... sort of.

The problem is we have employees all over the state so those that live in Portland things are cool - there's transit. But those in rural areas... well part of the difficulty is our contract negotiations. It's deemed unfair to reward employees for taking advantage of something readily available and not give something to those who can't because of circumstance. Yeah, "blame" the union.

What we settled on then was that those employees who want a pre-tax TriMet pass can get one - the cost (FULL) is deducted from our salary before the accountants run the tax tables.

But that's pretty much it. We don't even get the passes mailed - we have to pick them up downtown from TriMet.

I read the American Cyclist info too - but what is really lacking is some info for folks whose employer choose NOT to participate in the bike commuter credit...

I guess I am also curious if anyone has tried to get monthly vouchers independent of their employer...

06-09-2009, 08:45 AM
The thing is, if your employer chooses not to offer it, there's really not a whole lot you can do.

It's like any other fringe benefit. Your employer can choose to offer insurance, or not. They can choose to give you paid time off, or not. None of that is required by law to be given to you.

I would suggest that you lobby your union to go to bat for you. What else do you pay your union dues for?? Ask them to canvas the rest of the employees to find out what they want. Or, contact them yourself and find out what the interest level is. If it's just you, well, that's going to be hard going to convince your employer to offer a fringe benefit only you want. If you can show your union and your employer that there are a lot of employees who want to take advantage of it, that might make it a little easier to push for it.

Part of the problem with this "credit" is that there really wasn't a lot of guidance put out by the IRS about how to implement this part of the transpo fringe benefits, especially since there may be a lot of employers who don't currently offer transpo fringe benefits that now want to get into it. It has to be a part of their written plan, and the bike part of it cannot be combined with any other part of transportation fringe benefits-- and from my reading, it's not a pre-tax deduction, but a post-tax deduction.

Good luck.... keep us posted as to your progress.