Did the authors of the bill, which skipped the scrutiny of Congress’s usual public hearing process, intend to include this bombshell? Who knows! What they did, technically speaking, is start taxing employer-provided “commuting benefits” as if they’re corporate profits. (Note that this change doesn’t affect personal taxes, which still have a different parking subsidy embedded. We’re talking here about corporate income taxes.) Maybe the authors thought they were just sticking it to companies that buy bus passes for their workers.
The truth, of course, is that free parking is a commuting benefit like any other. And it’s worth a lot more money than transit fares or bike-share memberships—more than three times as much. An estimated 30 percent of American workers get the benefit.
So in December, in accordance with the new US tax code, the IRS advanced its first-ever plan to assign corporate tax liability to parking and other commuting fringe benefits.