Tax Breaks for Chicago Commuters

Chicago employers are not required to offer it.

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Save bagsfull of money with this program.

    Saving an extra $1,000 a year is as easy as hopping a train.

    Thanks to a newly implemented measure under the economic stimulus plan, Chicagoans who take advantage of mass transit are being rewarded even more through a federal tax break, the Trib reports, and it has nothing to do with the gas money you'll save. 

    The "Commuter Tax Benefits" program lets workers who pay at least 28 percent in federal income tax -- that's people who make $82, 250 to $171,550 -- and 3 percent in state, set aside up to $1,067 in pretax earnings toward the cost of commuting.  That's $110 more dollars per month than allowed last year.

    But even with the savings, a majority of people aren't taking advantage.

    That's because the program, which has been in place for years, is not being advertised by many employers. At least, not yet.

    Transit members and city officials are trying to promote the program by meeting with dozens of Chicago-area companies.  As of now, these companies are not mandated to offer the benefit, like those in San Francisco County are, but might soon receive special incentives to do so, according to Chicago Alderman Manuel Flores (1st).

    The added benefit could cover a year's worth of CTA 30-day passes as well as reduce the amount of pollution and traffic congestion for city commuters.