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Fiscal Cliff Deal Includes Increase in Transit Benefit Levels

The recently passed American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (i.e., fiscal cliff deal), included Section 203 that extended the parity for exclusion from income for employer-provided transit and vanpool benefits at the same level as parking benefits ($245 per month) through December 31, 2013.

In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (a.k.a. the stimulus bill) effectively created the equity between benefits received by employees who use transit/commuter highway vehicles (e.g., vanpools) and those who received parking benefits.  As you may recall, Congress chose not to extend the parity for 2012.  This caused the monthly cap on transit and vanpool limits to roll back to pre-ARRA levels of $125 per month while parking remained at $240 per month.

In 2013, under the fiscal cliff deal, Congress changed the effective date of Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits (Section 132(f)) and extended its end date through December 31, 2013. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 now provides the option for most employers to provide transit and vanpool tax free benefits to their employees up to $245 per month again.