Equal Tax Treatment for Bike Commuters
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The USA BICYCLE Act (USA Bike In to Change Your Climate and Life Equity Act)
Imagine if you could buy a bike tax free for bike commuting on an annual basis? Or all of your gear? Repairs? Bike insurance?
I wanted to suggest working to make bicycle commuting on par with mass transit and parking commuter benefits? At the minimum cyclists should have the exact same treatment.
Currently tax code allows my employer to let me contribute up to $230/month of my own money pre-tax to an account so that I can pay for parking or mass transit; but not for bike commuting; shouldn't bike commuting be an option too?
I saw that there is a benefit an employer can choose to pay $20/m for each bike commuter but the cyclist can not use their own pretax funds.
Sadly though, it seems that if someone uses that benefit they are precluded from other benefits:
"Question: Can you please provide information about the Bike Commuter benefit?
Answer: Effective January 1, 2009, bicyclists can benefit from the tax-free reimbursement of qualifying expenses. A company can reimburse a participant on a tax-free basis up to $20.00 per qualified bicycle commuting months (annual limit of $240.00) for "reasonable expenses" incurred as a bike commuter. This can include the actual purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage. This program does not allow employees to have pre-tax payroll deductions. Also, a participant in this plan cannot participate in a pre-tax transit or commuter program."
I don't think people should be at a disadvantage if they choose health and the environment over cars.
I can affirm that being a cyclist doesn't preclude one from being a car owner as well.
If everyone where a cyclist, sure it would reduce that tax base, but the wear and tear and roads would also be greatly diminished eliminating a large maintenance costs, thereby offsetting the loss in revenue.
The same question can be asked about mass transit users, and yet they receive the preferential tax treatment. I believe that it is hard to argue against the environmental benefits, health benefits, small business benefits and community benefits that increased bicycle commuting provides.
I believe this is an important conversation worth having and moving forward.
I've reached out to all of my elected representatives, cycling advocacy groups, and private enterprise as I believe this to be a truly non-partisan win-win-win issue.
I hope you all do too.
DC is looking to address the unfair car subsidy:
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