Dear Client:

Below please find the explanation of the recent commuter benefit legislation for Washington, D.C. and New York City. We are currently not administering these programs; however, you may engage a third-party vendor such as WageWorks, for example, to administer the benefits.

For Entertainment Partners (EP), you will simply indicate the deduction amount on the time card for each employee and whether it is taxable or non-taxable. All of the tracking and administering is handled by the client and the third party vendor.

Under The Sustainable DC Act of 2014, The District of Columbia passed a new Commuter Benefit Ordinance. The ordinance requires businesses with more than 20 employees located in Washington, D.C. to offer commuter transit benefits to their employees.

On January 1, 2016, D.C. employers with more than 20 employees will be required to provide one of three commuter benefit options listed below:

Employee-paid pre-tax benefit
Employer-paid direct benefit
Employer-provided transportation

NYC’s Commuter Benefits Law takes effect on January 1, 2016. Under the law, for-profit and nonprofit employers with 20 or more full-time non-union employees in New York City must offer their full-time employees the opportunity to use pre-tax income to purchase qualified transportation fringe benefits. The law is based on the Internal Revenue Code that authorizes pre-tax commuter programs, which benefit employers and employees.

Currently, the IRS has the following pre-tax limits:

$255 per month for combined qualified commuter highway vehicle transportation and transit passes.
$255 per month for qualified parking.

For studios and other productions, please contact the EP Tax Support Group when your company is ready to implement the pre-tax deductions on payroll. The client is responsible for supplying an employee list in Excel format. The Excel will include names, SSNs, and the amount to be deducted from each check. In addition, a signed payroll deduction authorization form is required from each employee.

The paymaster for the show will set up the deduction master for each employee once the Tax Support Group has approved the documentation. The commuter deductions withheld will be a “credit back” on the invoice so that the client may pay the agency directly. The commuter deductions are listed under the credit section of the invoice.

Here is a link for the D.C. commuter FAQ
Here is a link for the NYC commuter FAQ

If you have any questions, please contact Tax Support at 818.480.7333 or email taxsupport@ep.com.