President Obama recently signed the fiscal cliff legislation, and it contains a valuable little provision for those looking for a way reduce their carbon footprint! The provision allows businesses to offer their employees a tax-free benefit of up to $240.00 per month, rather than the $125.00 offered previously, for using qualified mass transit to get to work. Examples of qualified transportation include trains, buses, subways, ferries or services such as vanpool.
The benefit for the employee is they save money on their federal income taxes! The participating employer can benefit one of two ways; they can receive a tax deduction by providing the Commuter Choice benefit or by allowing employees to use pre-tax dollars to buy transit passes they are able to save on payroll taxes.
The benefits don’t end with saving money on your taxes. Take Charlie Stark of Northfield for Example. According to HispanicBusiness.com, this businessman has been vanpooling for almost 30 years and has saved more than $500,000 by doing so. By recruiting fellow workers and friends to carpool with him, he has saved an enormous amount of resources for himself, fellow carpoolers, and the environment.
Environmentally conscious individuals, which make up a great deal of today’s younger generation, love to get out of the box when it comes to simple ideas that have a big impact. In addition to saving money, there were other benefits. According to Stark, the time saved not driving also allowed them the benefit of “catching up on sleep, polishing off novels, knitting and even finishing college degrees.”