In 2013, users of mass transit can expect their tax returns to be a little easier to stomach. That's because users of public transportation will be allowed the same benefits as those who commute to work by car. In 2012, taxpayers who drove to work were allowed $240 monthly to help alleviate parking costs, but users of mass transit were only able to set aside $125 per month for travel costs. This year, as part of a provision that was tucked inside the legislation which helped keep Congress from falling off the fiscal cliff, those who commute by transit will receive identical benefits to those who drive to work-- $245 to set aside each month.
“Someone in the highest federal tax bracket – 30 to 39.6 percent – could save about $570 a year. Someone in the 15 percent tax bracket could save about $260 a year,” explained Lisa Greene-Lewis, lead CPA at the American Tax and Financial Center at TurboTax. Obviously, this is great news for anyone who commutes by bus or rail! As reported by Bloomberg News, that's 2.7 million families. Further, Congress decided to make this change retroactive for 2012 as well, so the benefits this year may even pay off double for some. Get the full details from Today.com.
The current provision will only be in effect for tax year 2013; to support mass transit and foster healthier attitudes toward ridesharing in our communities, this change must be made permanent. Whether for the same or different dollar amount, parity in benefits with commuters who drive is crucial to encouraging people to commute responsibly!