Opportunities to influence parking reforms on a national level are very, very rare, but one such window is open until 11:59PM EST on February 22nd and a bunch of smart comments could have a big impact.
As reported by Michael Andersen from Sightline Institute, Trump put a huge tax on parking lots, maybe by mistake, and the IRS is seeking guidance on the extremely important details of a seemingly esoteric change to the way our tax law subsidizes commuter parking benefits. Basically, corporations will now have to pay taxes on “commuting benefits” as if they were corporate profits.
It’s a weird law. But if it falls equally on parking and transit benefits, it could be a huge incentive for employers to replace universal free employee parking with a more equitable benefit.
Previously an employer paying $250 a month for an employee’s parking space (or bus pass) could deduct that cost from their income, but now that $250 will actually be taxed as if it were money made and kept by the company.
To put it another way, as Jason Pavluchuk with the Coalition for Smarter Transportation said: “the days of free and unaccounted-for employee parking are coming to an end.”
The IRS is in the process of writing rules about how this actually goes into effect, and they are considering effectively exempting employers with their own employee parking lots (like Nike), as well as large big-box retailers with huge surface lots (like Walmart) from the parking tax. Even worse, the tax would still apply fully to transit benefits from those same employers.
This would be a step in the very wrong direction. Ideally, employers would have to pay taxes on parking and not on transit. Barring that, Congress could ditch commuter fringe benefits and employers could voluntarily give a cash allowance for employees to get to work.
36 Hours To Make A Difference
So you have about 36 hours from when this article is published to submit a comment to the IRS asking for them to tax parking fairly.
You can COMMENT NOW via a form on Regulations.gov, here is a sample letter (with a placemarker for a personal note). Remember, this comment period ends at midnight EST Friday night. Just take 5 minutes right now and do it! This is a very rare opportunity to make a major national impact on parking.
After you send that letter, we also encourage you to visit the Coalition for Smarter Transportation’s campaign to urge your Congressional representativeto join Rep. Earl Blumenauer in asking the IRS to tax parking fairly.