Amidst the fine print of the deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” is a provision that could save MARC commuters a chunk of change.
The Washington Post reports that Congress has tweaked a portion of the tax code in order to give people an incentive to take mass transit. Employers can now cover up to $240 per month in commuting benefits tax-free, or offer a pre-tax payroll benefit.
This benefit was in place as part of the stimulus bill until the end of 2011, when it was allowed to lapse and dropped back down to $125 monthly. The “fiscal cliff” deal restores the benefit to that higher level.
The Post suggests that this change could encourage higher usage of public transit, because a tax-free benefit to those who drove and parked had remained at $240. Now, the two benefits are equal.
A $240 reimbursement could be especially helpful to those MARC riders who purchased the TransitLink pass, which includes unlimited monthly MARC and Metro rides for $233.
Of course, it is still up to companies to offer the benefit to their workers, so check to see what your employer offers.