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Transportation Spending Account (TSA) (if offered by your employer)

  • What is a Transportation Spending Account (TSA)?
  • A Transportation Spending Account allows you to put aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for work-related commuting and parking expenses. It is an employer sponsored plan that is endorsed by Section 132 of the Internal Revenue Code. If offered by your employer, it may consist of two separate benefits, parking and transit/vanpool.

    Overview of the Program:

    If your employer offers this benefit and you elect to participate, you will elect a monthly election which will be taken out of your paycheck on a pre-tax basis. This money will be available to you for reimbursement of eligible work-related transit and parking expenses based on claims you submit.

    For 2012, the maximum election for parking is $240 per month and the maximum election for transportation is $125 per month.

    You can submit claims for reimbursement for parking and qualified transit expenses incurred during the calendar year up to the limits allowed by the IRS on a monthly basis.

  • How does the Transportation Spending Account work?
  • 1. You have the option of electing to deduct a specified amount from your paycheck each pay period on a pre-tax basis to pay for your parking and/or transportation expenses.

    2. If you decided to enroll in the plan, estimate the amount you will spend on parking and/or transportation expenses each month.

    3. Then, determine the total amount of money you wish to put into your Transportation Spending Account. Your contribution will be taken out of your pay in equal amounts each pay period.

    4. As you incur parking and/or transportation expenses throughout the year, you simply submit a claim form to PayFlex along with the proper documentation for your expenses. Once your claim has been processed you will be reimbursed for your expenses. You may file claims as often as you wish. You may also submit claims online via Express Claims. This service allows you to upload or fax your documentation.

    5. Reimbursements for your parking and/or transportation expenses can be deposited directly into your bank account or a check can be mailed to your home address.

  • How does paying for my commute with pre-tax dollars save me money?
  • The program allows you to pay for your commuting expenses before federal, state and local taxes are taken out of your paycheck by your employer. Paying with pre-tax dollars decreases your taxable income and therefore, you pay less in taxes.
  • How do I know if I am eligible to participate?
  • You are eligible to participate if you are a current and active employee at the time the Transportation Spending Account program is offered by your employer.
  • Can I enroll at any time?
  • Please check with your HR department. Your enrollment timeframe is determined by your employer.
  • How often can I change my election?
  • Please check with your HR department. Typically you may change your election monthly or when there is a change in your method of commuting.
  • What are the 2011 transportation and parking pre-tax limits?
  • Transportation: $125/month

    Parking: $240/month
  • What taxes are eliminated if I enroll in a Transportation Spending Account?
  • If you choose to participate in a Transportation Spending Account program, you will not have to pay federal income taxes on transit or vanpool expenses up to $125 per month and up to $240 per month for parking based on the 2012 limits.
  • What transportation services are considered eligible expenses?
  • Eligible transportation services include subways, buses, ferries, commuter rail, and vanpools.
  • What parking expenses are considered eligible expenses?
  • Eligible parking expenses include parking at work or near a location from which you commute to work by mass transit, vanpooling in a commuter highway vehicle, carpool or by other means. It does not include parking at or near your residence. Your Transportation Spending Account may not be used for tolls, gas, or other driving-related expenses.
  • Can I use my benefit for other commuting expenses like tolls and gas?
  • The IRS regulation which governs commuter benefits limits the use of tax-free dollars to public and private transit services, vanpools, and parking related to your commute. Benefits may not be used for tolls, gas, or other driving-related expenses.
  • Do I need to keep my receipts?
  • Yes. Each time you pay for work-related parking and/or transportation you must keep the receipt for the expense. This receipt needs to accompany a PayFlex Parking and Transportation claim form which can be faxed or mailed to PayFlex for reimbursement. There may be times where a receipt is not provided for your parking & transit expenses. In this case, submit a claim form to PayFlex for reimbursement and note that no receipt was provided. For quicker claim processing, you can submit your claim online using Express Claims. You can then upload or fax your supporting documentation. (See “How do I submit a claim online”).
  • What is considered a valid receipt?
  • A valid receipt should have the merchant name, date, amount of expense and a description of the purchase for a transportation pass or parking. If you are not given a receipt, a signed claim form will be acceptable showing the amount of the expense that you incurred for that time period.
  • How do I submit a claim online using Express Claims?
  • Go to and click on Login. If you are first-time user, you will need to register your account by clicking on Register my account. Fill in the required information and click Submit. If you are a returning user, enter your username and password on the Login page and click Submit. After successfully logging in, click on Express Claims on the left navigation bar. Then follow the steps below to submit a claim online:
    • Enter your claim information: type of expense, date of expense and the amount of expense. To add additional claims, select Add Claim.
    • Once you have entered in all of your claims, click Submit.
    • Confirm all expense details, then click Submit. If you need to make changes, click Previous.
    • Select “Fax” or “Upload” for your document choice. In order to upload your receipts, they will need to be scanned into a PDF format.
      • If you selected “Fax”, print and sign the form. Then fax claim and itemized receipts to (866) WEB-CLMS (932-2567).
      • If you selected “Upload”, use the Browse button to upload an electronic document from your computer. To add additional documents, click on Add Additional Documents. After uploading your documents, you must check the Signature box at the bottom of the page to electronically sign your claim. If submitting dependent care claims, please make sure the provider’s signature is legible.
    • Then click Submit. You will receive an email from PayFlex notifying you when your claim has been processed.
  • Is there a customer service number I can call if I have questions?
  • Yes. Should you require assistance, please contact a customer service representative at (800) 284-4885 between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00 pm CT, Monday – Friday and Saturday, 9:00am - 2:00pm CT.
  • If I do not use the money in my transportation account, will I lose it?
  • The money left in your account at the end of the plan year may be carried over into the next plan year, if you continue to participate in the plan.
  • I carpool to work and pay to park near my worksite. Is my parking an eligible expense?
  • Yes, the cost of parking would be considered an eligible expense. However, only one member of the carpool can claim the parking expense on a pre-tax basis.
  • Is my vanpool an eligible expense?
  • Under federal law, arrangements where you and other commuters share the cost of renting a van for commuting to work are eligible for tax-free transit benefits. A van that you or one of the other riders owns or operates as your personal vehicle is not a vanpool. Also the van must be primarily used for commuting (at least 80% of the time), with a seating capacity of at least six adults excluding the driver and must be at least half full.
  • I drive to a parking lot and am picked up by my vanpool, and then taken to work. Is my parking an eligible expense?
  • Yes. If you incur work-related parking expenses in 2012, you can set aside up to $240/month before taxes to pay for your parking expenses. If your employer also offers the transportation option, you may be eligible to set aside up to $125/month before taxes to pay for your vanpool expenses. Therefore, in this situation, the commuter who incurs both parking and transit expenses is eligible to contribute up to $365/month on a pre-tax basis into their Transportation Spending Account.
  • May I use my PayFlex Card™ for transit expenses?
  • If your employer offers the PayFlex Card for transit expenses and you have elected to participate in the transportation spending account, then you may use your PayFlex debit card to pay for your transit passes/vouchers.
  • If I cannot use my PayFlex Card to purchase my transit pass, can I submit a claim to PayFlex for reimbursement?
  • If your employer allows a cash reimbursement option, then you may submit a claim to PayFlex for reimbursement.
  • What should I do if I try to use my PayFlex Card and the transaction is denied?
  • If you try to use your PayFlex Card to purchase a transit pass and your transaction is denied, please make sure that you have confirmed your available balance and that you have enough funds for the purchase.