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About the Commuter Tax Benefit Program

Employees Save, Commuters Save

The Commuter Tax Benefit is New Mexico’s program to promote the Federal tax law that allows employees to set aside pre-tax income to pay for commuting costs.

Whether you’re an employer attempting to enhance the company's environmental strategies or a commuter trying to find ways to save money, there are many benefits associated with participating in the Commuter Tax Benefit Program.

Commuter Tax Benefit Program Logo

The Commuter Tax Benefit enables employees to reduce their taxable income and pay for commuting expenses with pre-tax dollars, up to $240 a month. Depending upon the tax bracket, that is a potential savings of up to 38%. And employers could deduct over 7% in payroll taxes for each participating employee.

There are many tax benefits available when you help your employees use public transportation. Taking advantage of these benefits is easy, and programs can be set up at any time. 

Join a program; add cash to your bottom line and put more money in your employees’ pockets.

pdfCommuter Tax Benefit Program Frequently Asked Questions.

Many Benefits to the Commuter Tax Benefit Program

  • Offset rising transit costs and fare increases for employees
  • Cost savings for employees and employers
  • Parking savings
  • Improved recruitment and retention
  • Less stressed employees
  • Less congestion
  • Improved air quality

How Commuter Tax Benefits work

Federal tax law allows employees to use pre-tax dollars to pay for transit commuting and parking costs through employer sponsored programs. As of January 2013, employees may set aside up to $240 a month ($2,880 a year) of their salaries before taxes to pay for transit and vanpool fares.

Employers may:

  • Pay for employees’ transit, vanpool or parking
  • Allow employees to pay for transit, vanpool or parking fares with pre-tax salary
  • Use a combination of these two methods

Employee Monthly Savings Chart-Commuter Tax Benefit

Employee Savings

Employees sign up for payroll deductions that are used to pay transit costs with pre-tax dollars and save, regardless of income bracket or choice of transit services. Employees can receive their benefits as a pre-tax payroll deduction from their paycheck.

Employees who set aside income on a pre-tax basis for a qualified transportation fringe benefit do not pay federal income or payroll taxes on the income set aside. If you have a combined (local, state, federal) tax rate of 27.65% and spend $121 per month on the Rail Runner Express, you will save $33.46 each month or just over $401 a year*.

 

Employer Monthly Tax Savings Chart-Commuter Tax BenefitEmployer Savings

With a Commuter Tax Benefit Program you’ll improve your bottom line while offering a great morale booster to your employees. It’s like raising take-home pay.

When employees use their pre-tax dollars to pay for their commute, they reduce their taxable income. That leaves less taxable payroll, which saves your company roughly 7% on the amount employees set aside. If employers choose to offer the benefit in addition to salary, giving an employee $121 in transit benefits is thus less expensive for an employer than raising the employee’s salary by $121*. And you’ll be contributing to the quality of life in the region by promoting the use of alternative transportation.

*Examples based on NM resident in 15% federal tax bracket, state tax rate of 5% and FICA rate of 7.65% with a contribution of $121 per month by an employee earning income of less than $34,000. Does not include fee charged by benefit provider.