Bike Commuter Benefit

Bike Commuter Benefit

The bicycle commuter benefit allows bike commuters to receive a $30/month (maximum $360/year) reimbursement against 2019 costs associated with bicycle purchase, improvement, repair and storage.

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 spring 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. Employees must be active Harvard employees through the submission deadline of January 31, 2020 to receive this benefit. If you have questions about eligibility please email CommuterChoice.

What is reimbursable? 

Bicycle commuters are eligible for reimbursement of up to $30/month at a maximum of $360/year for the costs associated with bicycle purchase, improvement, repair and storage.

Purchases such as bicycle apparel, clothing, BlueBikes memberships, bike racks, scooters 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. 

  • If you do not have a legitimate receipt for your bicycle purchase, please fill out and upload the In Lieu of Receipt form as additional documentation on the submission form.

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?

  • Please save your 2019 receipts and submit them with the Bicycle Benefit application form. Employees have one (1) opportunity to submit the bike benefit application. To utilize the program to your maximum benefit, only submit your application when you have either met the total qualified amount or when you are certain you will no longer incur 2019 bike expenses.

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 

Bicycle purchases which do not meet the receipt qualifications above require an In Lieu of Receipt form as additional documentation. 

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 taxable. However, Harvard has increased the reimbursement from $20/month to $30/month, effective January 1, 2019, for a maximum of $360/year.  

What are the application deadlines and payment processes?

The deadline to submit for reimbursement of 2019 bike expenses is January 31, 2020 using this link or copying and pasting the following URL into your browser:

Reimbursements will be processed in one payment in the spring of 2020 via payroll deduction or check. Updates on reimbursement timing will be posted in 2020.

How do I request reimbursement for 2020 expenses?

Please hold onto 2020 receipts as Harvard continues to evaluate the program and tax impacts for 2020 and beyond.