The federal Bicycle Commuter Benefit suddenly became a reality last week as part of the $850 billion bailout bill signed by the President on Friday. The "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008" contains language (scroll to p. 205) that will amend the U.S. Tax Code to permit employers to reimburse employees, tax free, for "reasonable" expenses related to bike commutes, including bike and equipment purchases, repairs, and storage if the bicycle is used as a "substantial part" of the commuter's trip to work for the month. The benefit option will go into effect for tax year 2009 (so start saving those receipts come January). Thanks to Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wyden for their years of work on this initiative (though, as it happens, neither Blumenauer nor Wyden voted in favor of the massive bailout bill!).
Turns out I won’t be able to take too much of a tax break for that disc wheel I got or the $3,500 new Ridley Dean TT bike. It’s capped at $20 a month x number of ‘qualified’ commuting months, which for me is every month. I’m looking forward to that $240 write off!
If you read the whole bill it’s 451 pages but if I tried writing my term papers with as fat a margin as Congress writes their bills, I’d have easily kicked out 200 page term papers.
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