In the Washington area, a transit benefit system called SmartBenefits allows employees to receive tax-free transportation benefits from their employers. The benefit is good on any public transit system and in vanpools.
It's a benefit of high perceived value at low cost to you. The cost of providing this benefit is tax deductible to your company. SmartBenefit is an excellent way to provide equity for employees who cannot use parking benefits.
SmartBenefits is a tax-free commute benefit your company can offer to employees in the Washington area. This program allows you to give the maximum tax-free transportation benefits to an employee each month.
If your company qualifies, you can deduct the full cost of this popular benefit. Your employee receives a Smartrip card which can be used to travel on just about any public transit system and to pay for vanpools in the area.
Advantages of SmartBenefits
- Employees receive an additional benefit they don't have to declare as income.
- Employees have an easy way to pay transit fare without cash.
- Additional employee benefit helps you recruit and retain the best employees.
- Smartrip cards are available online.
- Simple to administer.
The Match Program
For a limited time, the Fairfax County Employer Services Program will provide Fairfax County employers with financial assistance to implement an employee transit benefit program for their employees. The employer must have a minimum of 100 employees on site and agree to participate in the program for six months. Employers must also agree to extend the benefit to their employees for the same amount of time they participate in the Match program. For example, if an employer participates and receives the match funds for six months, they agree to continue providing the benefit for at least an additional six month to employees.
Each employer will receive a fifty (50%) match for each employee participating. For example, if 30 employees participate in the program and the employer agrees to provide the full monthly benefit per employee, Fairfax County will reimburse the company for 50% of the cost, per participant per month. Over a six month period the employer would receive ($50%) in matching funds.
Employers eligible to receive IRS tax-credits for SmartBenefits, will only be able to receive tax credits for their actual expenditure during participation in a six-month Match Program-- not the amount that Fairfax County reimburses during the six-month period.