Commuter Accounts (Fringe Benefits)
(1)There are two individual account types within Commuter Accounts, Transportation and Parking. Each type allows enrolled employees to claim tax free reimbursement of certain employment related commuter expenses. The accounts are fringe benefits and federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations govern the accounts.
(2) Enrolled employees reduce their taxable income because they contribute to the account monthly through a pre-tax salary reduction. The employer does not contribute to the accounts.
(3) Employees can enroll, terminate, or make changes to an existing account throughout a plan year. A qualifying midyear change event is not required to make a change to the account.
(4) Enrollment in either account type requires a minimum monthly contribution. Each year the IRS sets an available maximum monthly contribution, the limit is subject to change. The Board reviews and approves PEBB changes to employee monthly minimum and maximum contributions. Only one contribution each month is permitted.
(5) Refunds of account funds without a claim and reimbursement submission process is not permitted. Fund transfers between the account types is not permitted.
(6) An employee’s account funds will forfeit to PEBB when an account is inactive. An inactive account means, that for six consecutive months there has not been either an employee monthly contribution or a claim reimbursement processed.
(7) The Transportation Account provides reimbursement for employee only work-related commuting expenses for bus, ferry, rail, monorail streetcar, train, or vanpooling expenses. You may not use a Transportation Account to pay for agency-sponsored transit passes when payroll already deducts the value of those passes from your pay pre-tax.
(a) Transit Pass Expenses are expenses incurred for a pass, token, fare card, voucher, or similar item for transportation using Mass Transit Facilities. These include public or commercial facilities. Commercial facilities are those provided by any person in the business of transporting persons for compensation or hire if such transportation is provided in a vehicle with a seating capacity of at least six adults (excluding the driver).
(b) Commuter Highway Vehicle (Vanpool) expenses must be in connection with travel between the employee’s residence and place of employment. A commuter highway vehicle is any highway vehicle with a seating capacity of at least six adults (not including the driver). At least 80% of the mileage must be for purposes of transporting employees in connection with travel between their residences and their places of employment. The number of employees transported for such purposes must be, on average, at least half of the adult seating capacity of the vehicle.
(8) The Parking Account provides a reimbursement for certain parking expenses incurred to work. You may not use a Parking Account to pay for monthly state lot parking, because payroll already deducts that cost from your pay pre-tax. The allowed expenses for parking are:
(a) At or near the business premise of the employer;
(b) At a location from which to commute to work by mass transit facilities or commuter highway vehicle (carpool).
(9) Employees submit reimbursement claims for incurred or paid for expenses during the current plan year.
(a) All claims for the current plan year must be submitted by January 15 of the following plan year. Submission of previous year claims after that date will result in a claim denial.
(b) Previous year unused funds remain in the employee’s account and can be used for current year expense reimbursement if the employee’s eligibility and the account’s eligibility remain as active.
(c) Expenses must be incurred or paid before a claim for reimbursement is submitted.
(d) Reimbursement cannot be made for more than the cash balance in the account.
(e) Reimbursement claimed for a month can be for no more than the maximum monthly amount in effect during the timeframe of the requested reimbursement.
(f) Reimbursement without a submission of a qualified claim for expenses incurred or paid are not permitted.
(10) Employees who remain employed but terminate the account can remain a participant if the account remains active. Inactive accounts forfeit to PEBB, see (6) of this rule.
(11) Employees terminating employment will not have an account contribution taken from their final pay. Former employees cannot participate in the Commuter Account. If funds remain in the account after termination, the employee may submit claims for incurred or paid for expenses that occurred before the employment termination for up to six months from termination. The account forfeits to PEBB after six months if funds remain in the account.