Bike Commuter Benefit

Bike Commuter Benefit

The bike commuter benefit allows bicycle commuters to receive $20/month (maximum $240/year) reimbursement against costs associated with bicycle purchase, improvement, repair and storage. Unlike an FSA, reimbursement comes directly from the University and is not set aside by the individual.

A qualified bicycle commuting month is one during which a benefits eligible employee/postdoc is biking for a substantial portion of the commute and does not receive a monthly transit pass or parking permit through Harvard University.

This benefit operates on the calendar year; your total reimbursement amount accrues over the calendar year and is paid back to you against the total eligible expenses you incurred in the same year. Reimbursement claims are processed and paid in the beginning of the following year. If you are a new employee/postdoc or use a parking permit or transit pass through Harvard for some months of the year, your total reimbursement value is prorated based on your eligible months.

Who is eligible?

Full time benefits eligible employees and postdocs paid directly by Harvard who commute by bicycle to work. If you have questions about eligibility please email CommuterChoice.

What is reimbursable? 

Bicycle commuters are eligible for reimbursement of up to $20/month at a maximum of $240/year for the costs associated with bicycle purchase, improvement, repair and storage.

Purchases such as bicycle apparel, clothing, BlueBikes memberships, bike racks, or expenses incurred by your spouse or dependents are not eligible at this time.

Eligible expenses include:

Bicycle purchase

  • New or used bicycles purchased from a store or a private party.

  • A bike is the only item that may be purchased from a private party; any other bike-related purchases made from a private party are not eligible for reimbursement. 

Maintenance, improvements, accessories

  • Purchasing parts and/or the service used to improve a bicycle as well as accessories, such as on-bike racks and locks.

Parking and storage

  • The costs associated with parking or storing a bicycle anywhere from a day to a year.

Safety gear

  • Helmets, lights, bells, and reflectors (attached to the bike).

How do bicyclists take advantage of the subsidy?

  • The administration of the bike benefit is currently being evaluated For 2019 and onwards. Please hold receipts for these eligible expenses until further guidance is provided.

What form of supporting documentation is needed?

For all expenses, attach receipts or evidence of purchase that clearly state all of the following:

  1. Name of service provider/seller
  2. Description of service or supplies
  3. Amount paid AND form of payment
  4. Date(s) of service 

Receipts showing another person's name will not be accepted.

The University reserves the right to cancel or deny reimbursement claims with or without cause at any time.

Are there any tax considerations?

Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, reimbursements paid to employees for bicycle commuter benefits are now taxable. However, Harvard will pay the 2018 tax for you. This means you might notice on your paystub that your gross reimbursement is slightly higher than what you submitted. The difference reflects Harvard’s contribution to ensure your taxes are covered.  Your net take-home benefit will be equivalent to what you submitted. Harvard continues to evaluate the program and tax impacts for 2019 and beyond. 

What are the application deadlines and payment processes?

Please hold onto 2019 receipts as Harvard continues to evaluate the program and tax impacts for 2019 and beyond.