The Commuter Choice Program is a voluntary employee benefit program, which facilitates the pre-tax payment of eligible parking and transit expenses for program participants, who pay to park their vehicle while at work or who use public transportation or van pools. The program allows eligible state employees to save money by paying for these expenses using pre-tax dollars, as allowed by Internal Revenue Code 132, which provides for Qualified Transportation Benefit Programs. No federal, state, or school district income taxes, or Medicare tax will be withheld from the pre-tax amount of participants’ eligible commuting expenses, so you will save money each month you participate in the program.
How the Program Works
The Commuter Choice Program includes two types of commuting expenses:
When you enroll in Commuter Choice for eligible transportation expenses, you are authorizing the third-party administrator, WageWorks, to purchase your public transportation fare passes (i.e. bus pass) and van pool passes, directly from your transportation provider.
The 2019 IRS monthly allowable dollar limit for transit is $265. When you enroll for the Commuter Choice transit benefit, the fare pass will be delivered directly to your home address.
The 2019 IRS monthly allowable dollar limit for parking is $265. When you enroll for the Commuter Choice parking benefit, WageWorks will pay your parking service directly.
Should your parking and/or transit expenses exceed the IRS monthly allowable dollar limit, you may have additional dollars withheld on an after-tax basis to pay your expenses that exceed the IRS dollar limit.
Funds cannot be returned to participants. These are pre-tax deductions and can only be used to pay for eligible commuter expenses. They cannot be reimbursed to participants per the IRS Code Section 1.132-9(b) Q/A 14(d).
The WageWorks website provides more information about the Commuter Choice Parking and Transit Program. Existing program participants also access the site to make changes in their current benefits and utilize other website resources. Eligible employees who wish to start participating in the Commuter Choice Program may do so by accessing the WageWorks website at wageworks.com.
If you are a first time user, use the last four digits of your state id number when registering.
Visit the WageWorks website, WageWorks.com, or contact WageWorks Customer Service at 855-428-0446. Representatives are knowledgeable about enrollment, elections, eligibility, ordering, cut off dates and IRS regulations. Customer Service Representatives are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.
All State of Ohio employees are eligible for participation in the Commuter Choice Parking and Transit program.
The majority of costs you incur from your residence to work or from work to your residence, for public transportation (i.e. mass transit) or van pools and for parking are considered eligible commuting expenses under IRS regulations. Commuting expenses must represent your normal commute between your residence and your work location.
The monthly administrative fee for parking and transit is $3.95 on an “after-tax” basis and is paid for by the employee.
Payroll Deduction Dates
Payroll Deduction Dates for Commuter Choice Program Participants
For those paid biweekly, deductions will be taken per the schedule below.
Termination of Participation or Employment
Employees who wish to cancel their participation in the benefit must do so by the 5th of the month prior to month in which they want it to become effective.
Employees who retire or terminate employment will forfeit any balance in their account. It’s important to cancel your deduction by the 5th of the month prior to your termination.
Credits cannot be reimbursed to participants. These are pre-tax deductions and can only be used to pay for eligible commuter expenses. They cannot be reimbursed to participants per the IRS Code Section 1.132-9(b) Q/A 14(d).
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