Important Information About NYC’s Commuter Benefits Law

The following is from the NY Department of Consumer Affairs:

As you may be aware, NYC's Commuter Benefits Law takes effect January 1, 2016, and the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) wants to make sure you have important information. DCA is responsible for enforcing the law and coordinating the City's public education and outreach campaign, and we are committed to working with businesses to make sure the law, which benefits both employers and employees, is administered effectively and fairly.

Below are key dates for covered employers to know. Click here for basic information and resources to help employers establish a commuter benefits program.

Key Dates in the Rollout of the Law:

  • January 1, 2016: NYC's Commuter Benefits Law takes effect.

Beginning January 1, for-profit and nonprofit employers with 20 or more full-time non-union employees in New York City must offer their full-time employees the opportunity to use pre-tax income to pay for their commute. Under federal tax law, employees can currently deduct up to $130 a month from pre-tax income to pay for qualified transportation.

  • July 1, 2016: DCA may start issuing violations to businesses that do not comply with the law.

The law gives employers a six-month grace period—from January 1 to July 1—to begin offering a commuter benefits program. Employers will not be subject to penalties for violations that take place before July 1. The law also gives employers 90 days to cure (correct) a violation before DCA is authorized to seek penalties.

How NYC's Commuter Benefits Law Helps Employers and Employees:

  • Benefits for Employers: Employers may save by reducing their payroll taxes. Employers can also attract and retain employees by offering a transportation benefit.

  • Benefits for Employees: Employees may save by reducing the amount of income tax they pay, and the money they spend on commuting costs is tax-free.

Questions?

For more information, please contact 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC), live chat with us at nyc.gov/BusinessToolbox, or visit nyc.gov/commuterbenefits for helpful FAQs and updates. If this law does not apply to your business, but you represent or know businesses that should be aware of the law, please share this vital information.