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Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit Program

The City provided Smart Pass allows benefited employees to use 3 VTA transit services (Bus, Rapid Bus, and Light Rail) free of charge. Express buses are 50% off the ticket price (must have funds loaded on Smart Pass). To load funds on your Smart Pass, please visit https://www.clippercard.com or call Clipper Customer Service at 877-878-8883.

Having a Commuter Benefit offers an opportunity for eligible employees to pay for non-VTA transit expenses with pre-tax dollars. Both the Smart Pass and the Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit support the City’s commitment to expand opportunities for employees to travel by means other than driving.

Qualifying Expenses

Qualifying expenses for transit services include subways, buses, ferries, commuter rail, and vanpools. Locally, this includes BART, Caltrain, Highway 17 Express Buses, ACE trains, and Vanpools. Expenses that are not eligible include parking, carpools, tolls, gas, and other driving related expenses.

Eligibility

Eligible employees are full-time and part-time benefited City employees classified at 20 hours per week or more. Part-time unbenefited and Airport employees are not eligible to participate.

How to Enroll

Complete and submit the Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit Enrollment/Change Form which is available above. Employees can enroll in or cancel your commuter benefit election each month. Elections or cancellation of elections will be effective the first semi-monthly payday of the next month as long as the Enrollment/Change Form is received and processed by Human Resources before payroll’s cutoff date.

Elections

Eligible employees can elect up to a maximum of $186.67 per month withheld from their paychecks pre-tax ($93.33 semimonthly; deducted on the first two paydays of each month).

For 2018, federal tax rules allow up to $260 per month in pre-tax transportation benefits. The market value of the City provided Eco Pass of $73.33 per month is allocated towards the limit of $260 per month. Therefore, the maximum employees may contribute for 2018 towards the Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit is $186.67 per month.

Changing Elections

Employees may change the amount of their commuter benefit election each month. Changes will be effective the first semi-monthly payday of the next month as long as the Enrollment/Change Form is received and processed by Human Resources before payroll’s cutoff date.

Contact

For more information about Flexible Spending Accounts or Commuter Benefits, contact Human Resources - Employee Benefits at HRBenefits@sanjoseca.gov.

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