Bigger commuter discounts

Penn commuters who use mass transit were already saving a bit more because of the recently approved American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Now, an amended section of the Act has increased the maximum monthly excludable amount for employer-provided transportation and transit-pass benefits. The amendment is effective retroactively, beginning on Jan. 1, 2012, and extending through Dec. 31, 2013. Transit benefits provided by an employer above $125 and up to $240 in 2012, and up to $245 in 2013, qualify for exemption from federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. The increase in exclusion amounts, however, was not received until after the University issued 2012 W-2 forms, which means Penn will issue a corrected wage and tax statement to take into account the change.

The increase affects both weekly and monthly payroll deductions and reflects the maximum pre-tax amount allowed to be taken out of paychecks for commuter expenses per calendar month for 2013. In addition to those who use SEPTA, the increase applies to those who use the Commuter Check Card Prepaid MasterCard, TransitChek, PATCO, DART and NJ Transit. For more information, visit the Penn Parking Services website or email the Parking Office at

Originally published on February 21, 2013