CHECK THIS OUT! haven't heard it in the news or anything... saw it on apartment therapy re-nest article and on cycling blogs.
So it seems like us cyclists never get any deserved benefits (aside from being in shape and super sexy til we're old), but George Bush must not have read the bail out plan's details very carefully, and we got the good end of the deal.
Included in the bail-out plan signed into law a couple weeks ago was a very short act called the "Bicycle Commuter Act." Apparently, Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wyden (both Oregon Democrats) have been pushing this type of act for almost a decade. Their persistence, and our choice of alternative transportation, finally got that act written in the bail-out plan under the larger chapter of Renewable Energy Tax Credit Initiatives legislation.
Thanks to hardworking representatives, strategic and intelligent legislation was passed. Looks like us lower income people might actually have just ONE benefit from the bailout bill. Who would've guessed it would involve our bikes.
HERE ARE THE BASICS:
Starting January 1, 2009, this will be the LAW, if you are a bicycle commuter (to your job).
Discuss with your employer- they will have to fill out forms (not yet created) to make this tax break happen.
You can/will be reimbursed up to $20 (taxable...) a month for almost any bicycle related expenses.
Your employer will be reimbursed what they pay you. Also, they get an income tax break at the end of the year.
Now, you might be thinking... "$20 a month ain't shit." BUT, the act was FINALLY passed into legislation. SUPPORT IT, and those representing us will be working very hard to get us MORE of a break! It was originally supposed to be $80 a month, but $20 is a good start.
RIDE YOUR BIKE!
please update me if you hear any new info!
check out the League of American Bicyclists page for the FAQ on this bill so far. here it is as of now, in the bailout plan:
SEC. 211. TRANSPORTATION FRINGE BENEFIT TO BICYCLE COMMUTERS.
(a) In General- Paragraph (1) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘(D) Any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.’.
(b) Limitation on Exclusion- Paragraph (2) of section 132(f) is amended by striking ‘and’ at the end of subparagraph (A), by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting ‘, and’, and by adding at the end the following new subparagraph: ‘(C) the applicable annual limitation in the case of any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.’.
(c) Definitions- Paragraph (5) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘(F) DEFINITIONS RELATED TO BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT-
‘(i) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT- The term ‘qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement’ means, with respect to any calendar year, any employer reimbursement during the 15-month period beginning with the first day of such calendar year for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee during such calendar year for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment.
‘(ii) APPLICABLE ANNUAL LIMITATION- The term ‘applicable annual limitation’ means, with respect to any employee for any calendar year, the product of $20 multiplied by the number of qualified bicycle commuting months during such year.
‘(iii) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING MONTH- The term ‘qualified bicycle commuting month’ means, with respect to any employee, any month during which such employee--
‘(I) regularly uses the bicycle for a substantial portion of the travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment, and
‘(II) does not receive any benefit described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (1).’.
(d) Constructive Receipt of Benefit- Paragraph (4) of section 132(f) is amended by inserting ‘(other than a qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement)’ after ‘qualified transportation fringe’.
(e) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.