Say goodbye to bicycle commuter tax benefit; thanks GOP

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In the rush to give huge tax cuts to corporations, the Senate and House conference committee has removed a small tax benefit for those who regularly commute by bicycle.

Bike commuters in Bellevue… file photo

Passed in 2008, the Bicycle Commuter Act enabled any employer to provide a reimbursement of up to $20 per month for expenses incurred by an employee who regularly rides their bike to work. Under the act, the employee does not get taxed on the amount of the reimbursement.

Twenty bucks is not a lot of money, but it does help encourage employees to commute to work by bicycle. It’s kind of like, “Thanks for your efforts to make the roads and parking less congested and make yourself more healthy. Here’s 20 bucks tax-free.”

The League of American Bicyclists reports that the Joint Committee on Taxation determined the Bike Commuter Benefit cost the federal government about $5 million a year in lost taxes.

Here’s the change on page 94 of the Republican tax legislation:

Seeing that that GOP tax bill is going to raise the deficit by $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion, it seems that getting rid of the Bike Commuter Benefit won’t make much of an impact. Maybe Republicans just have it in for bicyclists.

President Trump, who with his family will get a personal windfall as a commercial real estate tycoon, calls this tax cut  “one of the great gifts to the middle-income people of this country that they’ve ever gotten for Christmas.”

Instead, I’d say bicyclists are getting a lump of coal in their stockings this year.

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