You’ve probably heard that the $700 Billion financial bailout bill, officially called the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, was greased with an extra $100 Billion of pork. According to this ABC News story, that $100 Billion includes $192 Million for rum producers in Puerto Rico, $128 million for car tracks, $33 Million for corporations in American Samoa, etc…
You’ll probably be surprised to learn that cyclists are also a potential beneficiary of the bill. From what I can tell, the bill has four main sections:
- Division A – Pages 1 through 43 – The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
- Division B – Pages 43 through 97 – The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008.
- Division C – Pages 97 through 116 – Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008.
- Subtitle B – Pages 117 through 169 – Other Stuff
In Division B, section 211 is called the “transportation fringe benefit to bicycle commuters.” I have a hard time following the legalese, but it basically seems to be a tax credit for bicycle commuters, up to a maximum of $20 per month. I get tax-free transit, so I guess tax free bicycling makes sense, although I hate to see things inserted into the financial bailout bill that have nothing to do with the financial bailout. Here is the full text:
SEC. 211. TRANSPORTATION FRINGE BENEFIT TO BICYCLE COMMUTERS.
(a) IN GENERAL.—Paragraph (1) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘(D) Any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.’’.
(b) LIMITATION ON EXCLUSION.—Paragraph (2) of section 132(f) is amended by striking ‘‘and’’ at the end of subparagraph (A), H. R. 1424—77 by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting ‘‘, and’’, and by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
‘‘(C) the applicable annual limitation in the case of any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.’’.
(c) DEFINITIONS.—Paragraph (5) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘(F) DEFINITIONS RELATED TO BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT.—
‘‘(i) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT.— The term ‘qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement’ means, with respect to any calendar year, any employer reimbursement during the 15-month period beginning with the first day of such calendar year for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee during such calendar year for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment.
‘‘(ii) APPLICABLE ANNUAL LIMITATION.—The term ‘applicable annual limitation’ means, with respect to any employee for any calendar year, the product of $20 multiplied by the number of qualified bicycle commuting months during such year.
‘‘(iii) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING MONTH.—The term ‘qualified bicycle commuting month’ means, with respect to any employee, any month during which such employee—
‘‘(I) regularly uses the bicycle for a substantial portion of the travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment, and
‘‘(II) does not receive any benefit described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (1).’’.
(d) CONSTRUCTIVE RECEIPT OF BENEFIT.—Paragraph (4) of section 132(f) is amended by inserting ‘‘(other than a qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement)’’ after ‘‘qualified transportation fringe’’.
(e) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.