Frequently Asked Questions
Transit and Parking Benefits Program
Benefit Elections - Transit
Benefit Elections - Parking
Benefit Elections - General
What are the Transit and Parking (formerly Commuter) benefit programs?
The Commuter Benefits program is a qualified transportation benefit
program under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) ß 132 which allows employees
to pay for certain employment-related transportation expenses on
a pre-tax basis.
Which benefits are offered?
Transit: The Transit program provides employees with the convenience of using pre-tax dollars to help pay for work-related mass transit expenses. Examples of expenses under the Transit plan include:
- Transit passes to and from work, including the cost of tokens, passes, fare cards and vouchers
- Transportation provided by a qualified private transportation company (vanpool)
- Mass transit public Systems (Mass transit ca be a public system or a private enterprise provided by a company or individual who is in the business of transporting people in a “commuter highway vehicle.”)
Parking: The Parking program provides employees with the convenience of using pre-tax dollars to help pay for work-related parking expenses. Examples of expenses under the Parking Plan include:
- Parking your vehicle in a facility near your place of employment
- Parking at a location from where you commute, e.g., a train station.
*Please note: Separate reimbursement accounts are maintained for parking and transit expenses; funds cannot be combined or transferred between the Parking or Transit programs.
Who is Eligible?
All state employees, including limited term employees (LTE’s) can participate in the pre-tax Transit and/or Parking programs. Spouses and dependents are not eligible. Any employee who regularly pays for transit, vanpool or parking may take advantage of this program.
How do I enroll?
For the It’s Your Choice Open Enrollment period, please see your employer for a code needed to enroll online. For any mid-year new hires, please see your employer for an enrollment form that must be completed and returned to your employer. If any changes need to be made throughout the year to your existing accounts, please see your employer for a Change of Election form. Once you complete the Change of Election form, return it to your employer for the change to be made in your payroll deduction.
Why should I use the Transit and/or Parking programs?
You will save money – up to a 40% tax savings (depending on your tax bracket) on transit and/or parking up to the maximum pre-tax benefit limit.
- Participants receive a debit card to use to pay for your parking or transit
- The costs for these services are automatically deducted from your paycheck pre-tax
- You may also submit claims directly to TASC for reimbursement of out of pocket expenses
- The MyCash feature is also available when submitting claims for reimbursement. This feature will take that reimbursement request and transfer that to your TASC card to spend anywhere a MasterCard is accepted. A MyCash brochure is available on the ETF website for additional information
Who is responsible for administering
The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) oversees the program. Total Administrative Services Corporation (TASC) provides administrative services. TASC is responsible for online enrollment, processing requests for reimbursement and verifying eligibility of expenses to keep our programs compliant with Internal Revenue Services’ code.
Is my information on the Transit and/or Parking program kept secure and private?
Yes. TASC, the program administrator, maintains physical, electronic and procedural safeguards for protecting personal information.
What are the dollar limits on pre-free Transit and Parking benefit programs?
Federal law limits the amount of gross wages you may spend each month on pre-free transit or parking. Effective January 1st, 2015, the limits are $130 per month for transit and $250 per month for parking.
Can I combine the dollar limits from
month to month?
Will participation in the Transit or Parking programs have an impact on my other benefits?
Participation in the Transit or Parking program has no impact on the gross amount of earning used to calculate retirement, life insurance, income continuation insurance, sick leave conversion credits, unemployment or workers’ compensation.
If your payroll deductions are taken pre-tax, participation in the Transit or Parking program reduces the salary amount used for calculating Social Security benefits at retirement. Your Transit and/or Parking program contributions also reduce the includable compensation used to compute the maximum amount deferred under a tax shelter annuity or deferred compensation plan.
Will I need to fill out any special
tax forms to get my savings?
What commuting expenses are eligible?
Only actual amounts spent by you for the purposes of commuting to and from work are eligible. There are limits on the amount you can claim. Two types of commuting expenses are eligible under federal law.
- Transit fares, including tickets, passes, tokens, vouchers or other fares for riding buses, trains, para transit vans or other mass transportation vehicles. The cost of participating in an official vanpool is also available. The cost of commuting in a taxi or in your personal car or van is NOT included.
- Parking fees at or near your work place or parking at a location from which you commute to your work place via mass transportation or a carpool (such as a park-and-ride lot). Residential parking is NOT eligible.
Only parking and transit costs incurred by you in connection with travel between your residence and your work place are eligible.
What expenses are not eligible?
Only expenses for your workplace parking and transit are eligible on a pre-tax basis. Commuting expenses you cannot claim under the program include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
- Traffic tickets
- Mileage or other costs you incur in operation of a vehicle
- Payments to a fellow carpool participant or to a friend who drives you to work
- Expenses incurred for parking at your spouse’s place of work
- Parking at a mall or similar location where you stop on your drive to or from your place of work
- Costs paid be your employer, such as for a business trip
I ride in a carpool with my neighbor. Can I take of advantage of either the Transit or Parking programs?
Only the individual who actually pays for the parking space may have the costs deducted from his or her paycheck on a pre-tax basis through the Parking program.
Is my vanpool eligible?
Under federal law, arrangements where you and other commuters share the cost of renting a van for commuting to work are eligible for pre-tax Transit program benefits. A van that you or one of the other riders owns or operates as your person vehicle is not a vanpool. Also, the van must be primarily used for commuting, must have a seating capacity of at least six adults including the driver and must typically be at least half full.
My parking expenses are deducted from
my paycheck. Do I need to sign up for this benefit to have it deducted
No, if your parking is provided through a state agency and the cost is deducted from your paycheck, you are already enjoying a pre-tax benefit.
What is the deadline to sign up, change or cancel my Transit and/or Parking benefits?
You are able to sign up, change or cancel Transit and/or Parking benefits at any time. You will want to be sure to communicate any desired changes with your employer as soon as possible to allow adequate time for your employer to make those changes to your payroll deductions. .
If I sign up now, can I make changes
Yes, you can change or discontinue your coverage at any time throughout the year without having a qualifying event. To change or discontinue, simply complete a Change of Election form and submit that form to your employer.
If I donít sign up now, can I sign up later in the year?
Yes. The Transit and Parking programs allow for enrollment, changes or cancellations at any time throughout the year. You will select an annual Parking and/or Transit amount (simply take your monthly cost and multiply by the remaining months in the plan year) and that amount will be your annual election. To sign up during the year, you must complete an enrollment form; you can get an enrollment form from your employer. Once complete, return that form to your employer.
I missed the deadline for next month. What
do I do?
If you didn’t submit your change of election, enrollment or cancellation in time, you will need to be sure to submit as soon as possible thereafter. Once your employer receives the request, they will make the change. That change should take place on the next available payroll. Please confirm this with your employer as agency payroll processing times may vary.
Benefit Elections - Transit
What are my options for reimbursement for Transit expenses with TASC?
Here are the options for reimbursement:
- Debit Card
- Mobile Application for any Apple or Android device
- Claim filing directly from your TASC online portal
- Downloading a claim form from your TASC online portal for completion
- This form can be mailed, emailed or faxed to TASC for reimbursement
TASC processes claims forms every 24 hours so payment upon a submitted request will be processed quickly.
I pay for parking at my park-and-ride lot, but pay for a bus pass separately. How do I use pre-tax dollars for both parking and transit?
You can use pre-tax dollars for parking and for transit by electing each benefit separately. The bus fare would count toward the monthly transit limit; the parking fee would count toward the parking limit.
My transit needs can change from month to month. How accurate do I have to be when I predict my annual election?
If you are unsure about the total expense, you may wish to underestimate how much to have withheld from your paycheck. Keep in mind the monthly pre-tax limits when making your benefit election.
Benefit Elections - Parking
Is there a direct pay option for parking vendors with TASC?
No. Currently there is no direct pay option for TASC to pay your parking vendor. You can pay your parking vendor directly with the debit card. If your parking vendor does not accept debit cards, you can pay out of pocket and then submit a claim reimbursement form to TASC or you can file a claim directly from your TASC online account.
Can I schedule payments to occur
at some other time during the month?
You are able to use your debit card for expenses at any time so long as funds are available in your account. Funds are available when payroll deductions are taken from your paycheck and posted to your account. You may also submit a claim reimbursement form to TASC or file the claim online directly from your TASC account.
I pay for my parking every day or every week. What are my options for reimbursement?
If you have daily or weekly expenses, you can
- use the TASC debit card (please note that your account MUST have funds available)
- submit a claim reimbursement form to TASC
- file a claim directly from your TASC online account
These options can be used as frequently as you wish.
Benefit Elections - General
What happens to my transit pass order
or parking payment if I leave state service?
Your Parking and/or Transit account will be terminated.
What if the parking I use isn't available through the Transit or Parking debit card option?
You can still have a pre-tax deduction for parking. Simply pay your parking vendor yourself and submit a claim reimbursement form to TASC or file the claim directly from your TASC online account.
My monthly commuting costs vary. How much should I enter for my annual election?
You should estimate your monthly expenses and annualize that to determine the annual election. Please be aware that you are able to change your Transit and/or Parking election every month. Additionally, any unused funds from month to month can be carried over to the subsequent month within that plan year. If a balance remains at the end of the year (beginning with the 2015 benefit year), up to $500 can be carried over into the subsequent plan year.
What happens to my election if I do not use all the money deposited into my transit or parking program for the current month?
There is no "use it or lose it" rule. Excess balances will be carried over to the subsequent month. You may adjust future monthly Transit and/or Parking elections to avoid having an excess balance. To change your election, you will simply submit a Change of Election Form to your payroll or benefits person. This form can be found on the ETF website or through your employer.
How can I get reimbursed if I buy my transit pass or pay my parking facility paid directly?
You submit claim reimbursement requests directly to TASC. This can be done via mobile app, TASC online employee account, or emailing/faxing the completed claim form to TASC. When submitting claim reimbursement requests you will NOT be required to provide receipts.
How do I get reimbursed for my daily parking expenses?
You can submit a claim at any point (daily, weekly or monthly) for any eligible expense. Once a claim is submitted to TASC (mobile app, email, fax, online through your account), you can expect that reimbursement within 1-3 days.
What kind of supporting documents need to be submitted so that I can be reimbursed?
When submitting a Parking and/or Transit claim to TASC you do not need to submit receipts. It is recommended that if you are provided receipts by your parking or transit providers that you retain those receipts for your records.
I have the same out-of-pocket expense
every month. Do I still need to submit receipts?
My provider doesn't give receipts
or ticket stubs. What should I do?
If you want a receipt for your records, request one from your parking vendor. Transit and/or Parking programs do not require receipts in order for you to be reimbursed.
What happens if I don't submit receipts
or other documentation?
Receipts are not required for the Transit and/or Parking programs.
Where do I get Transit and/or Parking benefit program reimbursement request forms?
Reimbursement forms are available by logging into your TASC account and downloading that claim reimbursement form. You can also submit claims directly from your mobile device with the TASC mobile app or by logging into your account and submitting a claim directly from your TASC online account.
TASC Customer Service
1-800-745-9202 (ETF Specific Customer Care)
1-800-422-4661 (General Customer Care)