TAX BREAKS AVAILABLE TO COMMUTERS THROUGH TRANSIT BENEFIT PROGRAM

April 14, 2003
4/14/03

With tax day upon us, the Chicago Transit Authority reminds commuters they can lower their taxes next year by taking advantage of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and CTA Transit Benefit program. The program provides a tax benefit to both employers and employees.

"Transit Benefit provides substantial savings to public transit customers and their employers by enabling them to purchase fares with pre-tax earnings," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?Reducing a commuter's transit expenses through tax savings is a great benefit for those who use public transportation on a regular basis and a great incentive to encourage more commuters to come aboard."

Participants? monthly pre-tax deductions can be up to $100, which enables employees to save $200 to $465 in taxes annually by paying for transit with pre-tax dollars set aside from their paychecks. Commuters can use the program to purchase the unlimited ride $75, 30-Day Pass; and $30, $35 and $60 passes. Reduced fare and Paratransit passes also are available through Transit Benefit. The $65 Transit Card is no longer available. RTA Transit Checks can be purchased for any amount between $10 and $100.

Employees may purchase CTA Transit Cards and/or RTA Transit Checks and have them delivered to their workplaces. Payment options include: setting aside pre-tax income of up to $100 per month per employee, a company-sponsored, tax-deductible subsidy or a combination of both.

Transit Benefit positively impacts the environment by encouraging the use of public transportation. Other benefits of the program include reduced commuting and parking costs for employees, reduced absenteeism and improved employee morale and productivity.

?In addition to benefiting our customers and their employers, Transit Benefit provides the CTA an opportunity to further develop relationships with the business community in our service area of Chicago and 40 suburbs," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett.

Employers benefit by getting an annual payroll tax savings of approximately 10 percent of what their employees set aside due to decreased payroll costs. Currently 1,800 employers and 40,000 employees in the Chicagoland area are enrolled in the Transit Benefit Program.

CTA Transit Benefit sales for 2002 were $12 million, a 103 percent increase over $5.9 million in 2001. Combined sales of the RTA/CTA Transit Benefit program in 2002 was $57.7 million, a 45 percent increase over 2001 sales.

For more information on the Transit Benefit Program call 312-664-7200, extension 3069.

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