What are Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits?

Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits can help you control your transit expenses while saving you money. If your commute to work is via a bus, light rail, streetcar, vanpool, trolley, subway, ferry or bicycle, Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits may be right for you.

Here's how it works: You set aside money in your account before you pay taxes on it. When you set aside money in a Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits account, you lower the amount of income the government will tax, so you pay fewer taxes each year.

Your employer's Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit may allow for any or all of the following (please check with your employer as to which options are provided under your plan):   

Qualified Transit

Qualified Transit includes mass transit, including passes, tokens, fare cards or similar items entitling you to ride a mass transit vehicle to or from work. The mass transit vehicle may be publicly or privately operated and includes bus, rail or ferry.

Qualified Transit also includes van-pooling fees in a commuter highway vehicle with a seating capacity of at least six (6) adults, excluding the driver.

Qualified Parking

Qualified Parking includes parking fees at/near your place of work or at/near a location from which you commute to work by car pool, commuter highway vehicle or mass transit.

For more information on qualified expenses, visit our Frequently Asked Questions.


Increase Your Take-Home Pay

Paying fewer taxes means you keep more of the money you make.  In the example below, Jane estimates she will spend $4,380 on commuter expenses for herself during one year. Here's how she can save with a Commuter Benefit account:


Maximum Elections in 2018

Up to $260 per month for Qualified Transit Expenses
Up to $260 per month for Qualified Parking Expenses
Qualified Transit and Qualified Parking expenses may be combined.

How Does it Work?

Participating in a Surency AdvantagePlus Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit plan is easy.

1.    Once you've enrolled and set your annual election amount, that amount will be automatically deducted from your paycheck in equal increments throughout the year before you pay federal, state and FICA taxes on the designated amount.

2.    When you are ready to use the money in your Commuter Benefit account for a qualified transit expense, just swipe your Surency AdvantagePlus Benefits Card when purchasing fair cards or parking. If the Transit Authority or your parking lot does not accept your Surency AdvantagePlus Benefits Card, you can file a claim electronically from the Member Login and you will be reimbursed with money from your Commuter Benefit account, as long as you have funds available.

3.    To avoid losing any money, make sure you file claims within 180 days of incurring the expense. Check with your benefits administrator to determine if your employer allows for funds to roll over at the end of each month. If rollover is not available, be sure to use the funds in your Commuter Benefit account by the end of each month.


More Questions?

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers.

The savings amounts in the example above are provided by Surency for illustrative purposes only. You may save more or less based on your own tax situation. Some states do not recognize these tax exclusions for this program. No part of this website is tax, financial or legal advice. You should consult your own legal and tax advisors regarding your personal situation and whether this is the right program for you.