Uber Riders Can Use Pre-Tax Dollars in New York City

For over 50 years, Bloomberg BNA’s renowned flagship daily news service, Daily Tax Report® has helped leading practitioners and policymakers stay on the cutting edge of taxation and...

By John Herzfeld

Aug. 31 — New York City residents eligible for pre-tax commuter transportation benefits can use their plans to pay for ride-pooling services offered by Uber Technologies Inc., the transportation network company announced.

Uber said that effective Aug. 31, it has partnered with WageWorks Inc., which administers consumer-directed benefit plans for employers, to allow workers to pay for its uberPOOL service with pre-tax commuter benefit accounts offered through employers.

The e-hailing platform company, which offers uberPOOL service in 12 cities, said it plans to build on the WageWorks arrangement in New York to expand into those and other markets. The arrangement includes discounts on uberPOOL rates, the company said.

The partnership will offer its plan first in New York and then introduce it in phases in other cities, WageWorks said.

WageWorks, based in San Mateo, Calif., handles consumer-directed benefit plans, such as health savings accounts and commuter transit and parking programs, for some 58,000 employers, covering 4.5 million people, according to the company’s website.

The company administers contractual pre-tax commuter benefits for approximately 300,000 New York City municipal employees.

New Law Expands Access

Many more employees in the city became eligible for commuter benefits in January, when a city law ( Local Law 53, 2014) took effect requiring employers with 20 or more full-time nonunion employees to give them the opportunity to use pre-tax income to purchase qualified transportation benefits.

WageWorks is among nine third-party companies authorized to administer the benefits in New York City.

Pre-tax commuter benefit programs are covered by Internal Revenue Code Section 132(f), which sets conditions for eligible transportation and limits on eligible employee contributions.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Herzfeld in New York at jherzfeld@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan Tuck at rtuck@bna.com

For More Information

Text of the New York City law and more legislative background is at http://src.bna.com/icl.

Frequently asked questions on the New York City commuter benefits program are at http://src.bna.com/ick.

Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.