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Key Terms for Commuter Benefits

A glossary of key terms related to commuter benefits.

Commuter Benefits Terminology

  • Claim: Reporting of an eligible service or expense to receive credit and/or reimbursement in conjunction with one's allowed benefit.
  • Claim Form: A form that one needs to submit with proof of an expense/service in order for the carrier/provider to process and pay (if applicable).
  • Commuter Benefits: A benefit that can, and in some circumstances, must, be offered by employers for their employees' work commute. Employers may cover, or allow employees to set aside pre-tax funds, up to the annual IRS-maximum for their commuting expenses. With Zenefits, funds are loaded onto a debit card for use. 
  • Contribution: The amount of money that an employee or employer delegates to be deposited into their Commuter Benefits account and loaded onto their debit card for use.
  • Debit Card: A dedicated card that is used to load funds onto for use by the employee.
  • Deduction: The removal of the allocated contribution from an employee's pay before taxes are taken from it. The funds withheld from the employee's paycheck pre-tax are then loaded onto their Commuter Benefits debit card.
  • Eligible Expense: Purchases/services received that are allowed by the benefit provider. Eligible Commuter Benefits expenses include mass transit, parking fees, and vanpool.
  • IRS Maximum: The maximum allowable amount regulated by the IRS that can be withheld from an employee's pay pre-tax. This maximum changes from year to year, and employees are allowed to contribute beyond the IRS max -- except any funds beyond the max are taxed like regular pay.
  • Parking: One element of the Commuter Benefits offering. An employee can set pre-tax funds aside to pay for their parking pass, parking garage fees, etc. These must be work-related parking expenses.
  • PIN: Personal Identification Number. Most commonly a 4-digit numeric number required to use a debit card.
  • Post-tax: Funds that are taxed on an employee's pay normally.
  • Pre-tax: Funds that are removed from the gross pay of an employee's paycheck prior to taxation.
  • Pre-load: The full monthly employee contribution amounts become available for use on the first of each month.
  • Rollover: The carry-over of funds from month-to-month. Commuter Benefits funds roll over monthly throughout the employee's employment with the company.
  • Transportation: One element of the Commuter Benefits offering. An employee can set pre-tax funds aside to pay for work-related transportation expenses (bus passes, train tickets, etc).
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