How does my commuter benefit work?
Participating in this Plan will enable you to save taxes on the money you use to pay for work-related mass transit and parking. You may elect to reduce your taxable pay by the amount you expect to pay for parking and or transit. The amount you elect is withheld from your paycheck. Your payroll withholdings are credited to an account that is available to pay the cost of your eligible expenses.
How much can I contribute on a pre-tax basis to my Transit Account each month?
As of January 1, 2015, the maximum amount of Transit Pass Expenses that may be covered by the Plan is $130.00 in expenses per month, subject to future cost-of-living increases announced from time to time by the IRS. On December 18, President Obama signed into law a bill, Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015, potentially allowing for 2015 Transit Account participants to defer up to $250 a month on a pre-tax basis. This would be retroactive and would only apply to participants who set aside more than the previous $130 monthly amount in a post-tax account. Please consult with your individual HR Department for more information.
Effective January 1, 2016, the maximum monthly transit election amount will increase to $255.
New 2016 Transit Ruling
There are new transit rules going into effect in some regions on January 1, 2016. To read about the new regulations and how they may impact your transit plan, click here. To view a list of qualified transit agencies, click here. Please note, due to frequent updates made by the IRS, this list may not be complete. Please check with your transit vendor if you are unsure whether the pre-tax transit account can be used.
What is a Qualified Parking Expense? How much can I contribute on a pre-tax basis to my Parking Account?
“Qualified Parking Expenses” means the cost of any parking provided to an employee on or near the business premises of the employer, or on or near a location from which the employee commutes to work through the use of a transit pass. As of January 1, 2015, the maximum amount of Qualified Parking Expenses that may be covered by the Plan is $250.00 in expenses per month, which is also subject to future cost-of-living increases announced by the IRS. For 2016, the maximum monthly parking election amount will increase slightly to $255.00.
How can I submit a claim?
You can submit a claim to P&A via electronic upload, fax, or mail. To upload a claim, log in to your My Benefits account and select “Upload a Claim.” From there, follow the prompts on the screen to upload your claim.
To fax or mail a claim:
- Fax: Toll-free (877) 855-7105
- Mail: P&A Group Flex Department, 17 Court St. Suite 500, Buffalo, NY 14202
You can also use your Benefits Card instead of submitting for reimbursement if it’s available in your area. The Parking and Transportation Accounts work on as a pay-as-you go basis. Therefore, you can only use your Benefits Card up to the amount that has already been deducted from your paycheck pre-tax. In other words, you cannot use the Benefits Card for an expense that is greater than what has currently been payroll deducted.
What if I don’t get a receipt for my parking or transit purchase?
You should always save receipts and submit them whenever possible. However, when it comes to transportation expenses, we know that it isn’t always possible to obtain a receipt. P&A allows you to simply submit a non-receipt claim form if you don’t have receipts for your transportation expenses. Complete and sign a non-receipt claim form, including the dates of service and the amounts(s) requested for reimbursement. Remember to sign your claim form or it will be automatically denied.
How frequently will I be reimbursed?
You will be reimbursed as frequently as you submit claims. A check will be made payable to you and sent directly to your home address. The minimum check amount is $25.00 (NOTE: This restriction does not apply at the end of the run-out period for submitting claims). To get reimbursements faster, sign up for direct deposit today by logging in to your My Benefits account.
What information do I need to make a claim?
At P&A, we strive to make the claim reimbursement process as easy for our participants as possible. When it comes to transportation reimbursements, our claims processors need to know two things – 1) dates of service and 2) the amount you are requesting for reimbursement. Since most employees pay for transportation on a monthly basis, you can simply write down the month (e.g. January 2014 or 1/2014) that you are requesting reimbursement for and the amount(s) you want reimbursed. If you want to submit for a range of months, you can write the range of months as your dates of service (e.g. January 2014 -– June 2014). As a rule, you cannot request for future months and expect to get reimbursed for services that have not yet happened.
Why wasn’t I reimbursed what I requested?
There could be two reasons why you did not get reimbursed the amount that you requested. The first possibility is that you asked for an amount that exceeded the IRS monthly maximum. Each year the IRS sets monthly maximums that dictate the amount that you are allowed to receive in reimbursement for transportation expenses. If you requested an amount higher than what you are allowed to receive, your claim will be processed for the current IRS monthly maximum.
The second reason why a claim may not have paid out in full is that transportation plans reimburse employees on a pay-as-you-go basis. The maximum amount allowed for reimbursement is equal to the current amount of pre-tax payroll deductions. For instance, let’s say you requested an amount that exceeded the amount of money to date from your payroll deductions. Your claim will partially pay out and then as more payroll deductions are applied to your account, the remainder of the outstanding claim will continue to pay out until it is satisfied.
How does the debit card work for my transportation expenses?
Employees who are eligible to use the debit card to pay for transportation expenses can use the card to pay up front for their expenses rather than pay out of pocket and submit a claim for reimbursement. The card works like a debit card but actually deducts your transit funds from your transit account. Since the transportation plans work on a pay-as-you-go basis, you cannot debit more funds than you currently have in your account. Therefore, you must make sure that enough of your payroll deposits are in your account to satisfy the transit expense you are paying for when you use your debit card. If you try to use your debit card and do not have sufficient funds available, your debit card will not work and you will have to pay for your transit with another method.