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How to Set Up a Commuter Benefits Program
Commuter benefits enable employees to travel to work sustainably while saving money on their commuting costs.
Implementing and maintaining a commuter benefits program is an easy, inexpensive and effective recruitment and retention tool supported by Section 132(f) of the IRS tax code. This program is cost-effective, no matter the number of employees you have. Your employees benefit from saving money on their transit, vanpool or bicycle commute.
Here are step-by-step instructions for selecting and implementing a commuter benefits program for your business.
1. Choose a Program
Consult our downloadable Employer Guide to learn about the different types of commuter benefits programs and which best fits with your company’s values, budget and employee needs. This guide is well-suited for an employer of any size and includes instructions for how to implement a program.
- 2014 Guide for San Francisco Employers (Full PDF)
2. Select a Vendor
After consulting our Employer Guide and researching the type of program that best suits the needs of your employees and company, decide whether you wish to administer your commuter benefits program in-house or use a third-party vendor. This list of vendors is a good starting point to determine how your company would like to administer the benefit.
Once you have set up the system for deductions or subsidy payments, advise your employees of their options and the sign up procedure. Downloadable communications and promotional materials are available for employer customization and use.
Employee Voluntary Waiver Form [English]
Sample Company E-mail for Pre-Tax Benefits [English]
Sample Company E-mail for Subsidy [English]
4. Submit a Compliance Reporting Form
Once you have implemented a commuter benefits program, employers in San Francisco are asked to complete a compliance reporting form for 2014.
If you have 50 or more employees across all sites in the Bay Area, you will register and report to the new Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program at http://commuterbenefits.511.org.
If you have fewer than 50 employees in the Bay Area but more than 20 nationwide, and a location in San Francisco, you will continue to report to the San Francisco Commuter Benefits Program at SFEnvironment.org/CBOcompliance. To avoid penalties, please submit the Compliance Reporting Form by April 30, 2014.
5. Request a Consultation
Need assistance in setting up a commuter benefits program or have more specific questions related to your business? Request a free consultation for one-on-one technical assistance. Consultations with a member of our team can be arranged in-person or over the phone depending on your preference.
For more information, contact:
San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment)
City & County of San Francisco
Phone: (415) 355-3727
San Francisco is habitat for 800,000 people – meeting needs for space to work, play, and learn; for food, water, and air; for community with local flora and fauna. SF Environment provides support for urban agriculture and forestry and green buildings, helping residents and businesses harness environmental opportunities.