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Federal Bill Would Provide a Tax Break for Bike Commuters

You won’t see this site in the Rockaways any more — a man on a Pace bike. Photo: Mary Ellen Burke

Bike commuters will get to write off up to $53 in monthly expenses, thanks to a new tax bill introduced in the House this week.

“Incentivizing bicycle commuting helps people stay active, promotes a clean environment and is good for the economy,” said co-sponsor Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Florida) said in a press release announcing the legislation.

People who drive to work or take transit are already eligible tax break, allowing them to write off up to $255 in parking or fare-related expenses. But thanks to the tax bill passed by Republicans last year, those who commute by bike no longer enjoy a similar benefit.

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Buchanan, Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts), would fix that. It would allow bike commuters to deduct 20 percent of the parking and transit tax benefit, which is capped at $265 monthly. The bill would also allow commuters who cycle for part of their journey to write off those expenses in addition to a parking or transit benefit. The bill would also allow bike commuters to write off the cost of bike or e-bike share membership.

The previous bike commuter tax break, which Republicans ended just last year, was structured differently, as a reimbursement and was limited to $20 a month.

The new bill is welcome, but falls short of at least one European innovation. To encourage even more cycle commuting in Holland, the Dutch government pays workers 22 cents for every kilometer they pedal, the Huffington Post reported.

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