…unfortunately, it seems as though no one is quite sure how to implement it, and the IRS isn’t helping much.
The Chicago Tribune has a story on it today.
Under the measure, which passed with the $700B bailout plan, cyclists would get $20 each month toward reimbursable expenses if they ride their bikes to work regularly.
Problem is: What’s ‘regularly?’ How will the IRS define ‘reimbursable?’
Another problem is that if a commuter uses another commuting benefit – like a transit benefit that helps reimburse for train or bus passes – they’re ineligible, even if they’re going multi-modal (bike to bus, bike to bike locker, hop on train). Or, rather, they have to pick one, and the transit pass benefit tends to slay the bicycle benefit for dollar value.
Frankly, I can’t blame employers for wanting the IRS to weigh in. Transit benefits have an easier paper trail: Buy a pass. Turn in pass for reimbursement. It’s obvious. The bike benefit is less obvious, and no one likes running afoul of the IRS.