The Obameter

Equalize tax breaks for driving and public transit

"The federal tax code rewards driving to work by allowing employers to provide parking benefits of $205 per month tax free to their employees. The tax code provides employers with commuting benefits for transit, carpooling or vanpooling capped at $105 per month. This gives drivers a nearly 2:1 advantage over transit users. Obama and Biden will reform the tax code to make benefits for driving and public transit or ridesharing equal."

Sources: "Strengthening America's Transportation Infrastructure"

Subjects: Government Efficiency, Taxes, Transportation

Updates:

Stimulus bill equalizes tax breaks for parking, transit

Updated: Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 | By Louis Jacobson

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to equalize the tax breaks for driving and public transit. He accomplished this goal with passage of the economic stimulus package in February.

Previously, employers could write off nearly twice as much from their tax bill when they provided parking benefits than they could when they offered benefits that promoted transit, carpooling or vanpooling.

But under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the new maximum for both types of benefits was equalized by raising the transit benefit. For 2009, the amount will be $230 per month, with increases for inflation at equal rates for 2010.

We consider this a Promise Kept.

Sources:

Text of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

KPMG, analysis of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Feb. 18, 2009

Interview with Olivia Alair, Transportation Department spokeswoman, Dec. 7, 2009

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