Editor's Note: Fawn Johnson is off this week.
With gas prices rising, the economy plodding toward a recovery and tax day nearly upon us, the handful of available transportation-related tax deductions may be looking increasingly appealing to Americans seeking an alternative to the expensive drive to work, as the experts at H&R Block point out.
"For taxpayers whose employers provide transportation fringe benefits, using a van pool, transit pass, qualified parking and biking to work can be ways to save money," Kathy Pickering, executive director of the H&R Block Tax Institute, said in a recent release.
The deductions may be small, but they can add up. The most common pre-tax benefits offered by employers, according to H&R Block, include:
- A maximum of $125 per month for commuter highway transportation, such as a van pool;
- A maximum of $125 per month for mass transit passes and tokens;
- Up to $240 per month for parking in a workplace-provided lot, or a mass-transit parking lot;
- And up to $20 per month for bicycle-related expenses.
More people using different modes of transportation like bicycles or public transit means more voters exposed to the effects of tightened budgets, good or bad. Do these deductions help to raise awareness by encouraging Americans to seek out new ways of getting around? Do they have any other indirect effects? Are transportation-related deductions useful or useless? Should they be expanded, scrapped, reformed?