Bike Commuter FAQs

 

BIKE COMMUTER EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT PROGRAM

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The information presented in the Frequently Asked Questions is preliminary

as elements of the program are still under development. Watch

www.upenn.edu/biking for more information and updates as they

become available.

GENERAL

Q. What is the Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program?

Q. Is the Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program a pre-tax benefit account?

Q. Is my School/Center's budget funding this reimbursement?

ELIGIBILITY: Bike Commuter

Q. Who is eligible to participate in Penn's Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program?

Q. What is an eligible bicycle commuting month?

Q. I currently pay for my monthly parking via payroll deduction; however, I often ride my bike to work.

May I claim bike commuter expenses as well?

Q. I receive pre-tax transit commuter benefits from Penn. Additionally, sometimes I bike to work.

Can I receive both a transportation benefit and claim a bicycle reimbursement in the same month?

Q. I only commute by bicycle during the summer months.  Can I still claim an annual reimbursement?

ELIGIBILITY: Bike Expenses

Q. What are the eligible and ineligible bike commuter expenses for reimbursement?

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

Q. How do I enroll in the Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program?

Q. How do I register my bike?

USING CONCUR

Q. Why was Concur selected as the platform to submit the expenses associated with bike commuting?

Q. Where is the Concur website located?

Q. I am not familiar with Concur.  What do I do now?

Q. Will any training be provided for program participants?

Q. I am in Concur; however, I do not see the Expense tab. Who should I contact?

Q. Will my expense report go through the normal approval flow in my School/Center?

BIKE COMMUTER EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT CYCLE

Q. How do I get reimbursed?

Q. Are there specific dates to submit my receipts?

Q. Do I have to wait until January to log my expenses?

Q. When will I receive my reimbursement?

Q. How will I receive my reimbursement?

Q. I do not have a bank account to receive payment. How do I receive my reimbursement?

Q. Is there a limit to the amount that will be reimbursed?

Q. I incurred bike expenses in 2016, before the program start date. Can I still claim a reimbursement?

Q. I plan to buy a new bike in January 2017 and it will cost approximately $1,000. Can I claim $240?

Q. If I were to buy a bicycle helmet for $50 in December 2017, can I only receive $20?

Q. I bought a luggage rack for my bike in March that was $30 in anticipation of commuting by bicycle and participating in the Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program beginning in May. How do I claim this expense?

Q.  I live in Philadelphia and purchased a bike earlier this year.  Will the sales tax on the bike purchase also be reimbursable?

Q. I am a staff member who will no longer be employed at Penn next month, which is prior to the end of the tax year.  How can l claim my bicycle commuter expense reimbursement since I will no longer have a valid PennKey and password to access Concur?

Q.  How should program participants who are on leave file their claim during the open period when expense reports are to be filed?

Q. What types of circumstances may cause my reimbursement request to be rejected?

Q. What is considered an acceptable receipt?

Q. I lost my receipt.  Can I certify a 'lost or missing receipt' and still request reimbursement through Concur?

Q. I've received an email that indicates a revision has to be made to my Bike Commuter expense report.  What should I do?

Q. What happens if my report is not approved?

Q. Do I have to claim this reimbursement on my personal taxes?

MISCELLANEOUS

Q. I primarily commute to Penn by bike; however, I may need to drive to campus on occasion.  I'd like to purchase Occasional Parking passes.  May I do so?

Q. Who can I contact with questions?

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GENERAL

Q.  What is the Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program?

A.  IRS  statute allows employers to offer tax-free commuting benefits including certain bicycle commuting expenses to qualified employees.

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Q.  Is the Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program a pre-tax benefit account?

A.  This is not a pre-tax benefit account; it is an employer-sponsored post-tax benefit program.  Bike commuters will pay for any eligible expenses out of pocket up to $240 annually and subsequently receive reimbursement from Penn. Unlike a flexible spending account, reimbursement comes directly from the University and is not set aside from pre-tax pay by the individual employee.

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Q.  Is my School/Center’s budget funding this reimbursement?

A.  Funding for this program is provided by the Division of Business Services in support of the University’s Climate Action Plan.

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ELIGIBILITY: Commuter

Q.  Who is eligible to participate in Penn’s Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program?

A.  To participate in this program, one must;

  • Be full-time benefits-eligible University faculty or staff;
  • Not be participating in any of Penn’s other commuter transit or parking programs;
  • Commute by bicycle to and from Penn greater than 50% of the time in a qualified bike commuting month; and
  • Register the bike with the Division of Public Safety.

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Q.  What is an eligible bicycle commuting month?

A.  An “eligible month” is any month in which the full-time benefits-eligible faculty or staff member was actively employed and regularly used a bicycle greater than 50% of the time to travel between his or her residence and place of employment, AND did not participate in any of Penn’s other commuter transit or parking programs.

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Q.  I currently pay for my monthly parking via payroll deduction; however, I often ride my bike to work.  May I claim bike commuter expenses as well?

A. Per IRS regulations, employees may not participate in more than one commuter program at a time.  As part of Penn’s process, bike commuter program participants will be asked to certify that they are not participating in other Penn commuter programs such as public transit, carpool, vanpool, or parking.

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Q: I receive pre-tax transit commuter benefits from Penn.  Additionally, sometimes I bike to work. Can I receive both a transportation benefit and claim a bicycle reimbursement in the same month?

A:  You may only participate in one commuter program per month.  You will be eligible to receive a reimbursement for expenses incurred in a month when you did NOT receive qualified parking or commuter transit benefits, and when you commuted to work greater than 50% of the month by bicycle.

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Q: I only commute by bicycle during the summer months. Can I still claim an annual reimbursement?

A:  Yes, you can claim reimbursement up to $20 times the number of your eligible bike commuter months in the calendar year. For instance, if you only commute by bike from May – September, that would be $20 x 5, or $100 maximum annual reimbursement for the calendar year.  To be eligible, you may not concurrently receive another commuter benefit during that time.

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ELIGIBILITY: Bike Expenses

Q.  What are the eligible and ineligible bike commuter expenses for reimbursement?

A.  Guidance as to the type of reimbursements that are allowable is provided in the IRS code. The chart below provides an at-a-glance view of some examples of the kinds of purchases that will qualify for reimbursement, as well as those items that are considered ineligible expenses.

EXPENSE TYPE

ELIGIBLE EXPENSES

INELIGIBLE EXPENSES

 

 

 

 

 

Bicycle Purchase

 

New or used bikes purchased from a store or private party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maintenance,

Improvements, and

Bike Accessories

 

Purchasing bicycle parts and/or service used to maintain or improve a bicycle

Bike-mounted accessories such as luggage racks, and locks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parking and Commercial Storage

 

Bike parking fees at commercial property

Costs associated with storing a bike from one day to a year at a commercial storage unit

 

Car Mounted Bike Racks

Personal storage areas such as residences and garages

 

 

 

 

 

Safety Gear

 

Helmets, lights, bells and reflective

items

 

Reflective clothing and apparel

 

 

 

 

 

Membership and Program Fees

 

 

 

Bike rental or bike share programs (i.e. – Indego)

Gym or fitness center programs

Locker rentals

 

 

 

 

 

Clothing/Apparel

 

 

 

Sunglasses, bike shoes,

non-reflective clothing, etc.

As with many programs such as this one, Penn reserves the right to interpret compliance within its established guidelines.  False claims will result in the expense not being reimbursable and the employee will be responsible for repayment to the University.  Acceptable receipts must accompany all expenses submitted on an expense report.  Penn’s voluntary bike commuter participation program is subject to change at any time.

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HOW DO I GET STARTED?

Q.  How do I enroll in the Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program?

A.  While there is not a formal enrollment process in order to participate in the program, there are a few things that will be required by eligible commuters seeking expense reimbursement.

  • Commuters are required to register their bicycles with Division of Public Safety; and
  • Participants will be asked to complete a program enrollment form at the time they submit their expense report via Concur. The form is available at www.upenn.edu/biking.

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Q.  How do I register my bike?

A.  Penn faculty and staff may register their bike by logging onto Campus Express by clicking here. When you have entered the portal after providing your PennKey and password, follow the instructions and provide the requested information to register your bicycle.

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USING CONCUR

Q.  Why was Concur selected as the platform to submit the expenses associated with bike commuting?

A.  Concur is the University’s expense management system.  It has afforded Penn the opportunity to utilize a system, already familiar to many employees across campus, for program participants to claim their pre-tax expense reimbursements.

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Q.  Where is the Concur website located?

A.  You may access the Concur system via the Expense Report tab on the Penn Travel and Expense Management website.  Click on the Concur icon and then provide your PennKey and password to access Concur’s  expense management system.

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Q.  I am not familiar with Concur.  What do I do now?

A. A simple guidebook about Requesting Bike Commuter Reimbursement in Concur will be available at www.upenn.edu/biking.  This step-by-step instructional manual will direct you through the process of uploading your receipts and submitting your expense report for payment. Screen shots will be provided to lead you through the process.

In the interim, should you have any questions about uploading receipts into Concur, please contact Hilary Easley; Director, Penn Travel at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Q.  Will any training be provided for program participants?

A. Open houses and demos will be provided periodically throughout the year.  Continue to visit www.upenn.edu/biking to learn the dates of these sessions.

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Q.  I am in Concur; however, I do not see the Expense tab.  Who should I contact?

A.  The Expense tab is located to the right of the Travel tab at the top of the Concur page.  If the tab is not visible, your Concur expense access has not been set up by your school/center.  Contact the central business office of your school/center to request access.  They are familiar with this Concur process and will complete a special WebADI process to activate the expense tab.  Concur updates from WebADI in an overnight process.  The following day, once your profile has been established in the system, you will see the Expense tab in Concur.

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Q.  Will my expense report go through the normal approval flow in my School/Center?

A.  The Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program is managed by the Division of Business Services, and all expense report reviews and approvals will flow automatically past the default approver to Business Services personnel.

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BIKE COMMUTER EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT CYCLE

Q.  How do I get reimbursed?

A.  This is an employer-sponsored reimbursement program.  You pay for eligible expenses out of pocket, and then submit a request for reimbursement to Penn, accompanied by your receipts during the reimbursement period, which is January – February each year.  All reimbursement of bike commuter expenses will be processed as an annual expense report through the Concur Expense Management System.

NOTE: There may be bike commuters that travel on behalf of the University and use a Penn Travel Card to expense their purchases in Concur.  The Penn Travel Card, the University’s recommended credit card for work-related travel and entertainment expenses, should not be used to charge these personal purchases.

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Q.  Are there specific dates to submit my receipts?

A.  Claims from Tax Year 2017 may be submitted beginning January 1, 2018, and no later than February 28, 2018.

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Q. Do I have to wait until January to log my expenses?

A. You may upload your receipts to Concur at any time throughout the tax year; however, it is recommended that participants must create and submit expense reports during the annual claim period from January 1 to the end of February.

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Q.  When will I receive my reimbursement?

A.  Bike Commuter expense reports will be paid within 45 days of submittal.  It is possible that the reimbursement will be paid any time after January 15, but no later than March 31.

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Q.  How will I receive my reimbursement?

A.  The reimbursement will be paid like any other expense that flows through Concur.  Once the expense report has been approved for payment to the bike commuter, it will be sent directly to the direct deposit bank account that receives your normal paycheck. It will be a separate deposit (not part of your paycheck).

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Q.  I do not have a bank account to receive payment.  How do I receive my reimbursement?

A.  Employees who receive their pay on an ADP pay card will have their reimbursement posted to that card through Concur.

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Q.  Is there a limit to the amount that will be reimbursed?

A.  Yes.  According to the current IRS statute, employers may only reimburse bicycle commuters up to $20 per eligible bike commuting month tax-free, for an annual maximum reimbursement of $240. Further, a reimbursement will only be issued provided the qualified expense was made during an eligible bike commuting month.

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Q: I incurred bike expenses in 2016, before the program start date.  Can I still claim a reimbursement?

A: Penn’s new program begins at the start of Tax Year 2017.  Any expenses incurred prior to January 1, 2017, are not eligible for reimbursement.

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Q:  I plan to buy a new bike in January 2017 and it will cost approximately $1,000. Can I claim $240?

A:  Yes, if you have commuted greater than 50% by bicycle to and from work for twelve months, and submit a request for the $240 in the January - February 2018 claim period.  Include a copy of the itemized receipt that shows the bike purchase of $1,000.  Once your expense report has been processed, you will receive the maximum $240 reimbursement.

Remember, bike commuters may only claim a $20 credit for those months they commuted greater than 50% by bicycle to and from work AND did not receive another commuter fringe benefit such as qualified parking or transit discounts.

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Q.  If I were to buy a bicycle helmet for $50 in December 2017, can I only receive $20?

A.  A qualified bicycle reimbursement may be claimed across more than one month provided that the purchase was made in an eligible bike commuter month. You can claim reimbursement up to $20 times the number of eligible months in the calendar year.  In this case, you would have had to have commuted by bike for three months in the tax year, to submit for the entire $50.

Additionally, the remaining amount of the $50 qualified purchase made in TY2017 may not be rolled over to TY2018.

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Q. I bought a luggage rack for my bike in March that was $30 in anticipation of commuting by bicycle and participating in the Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program beginning in May. How do I claim this expense?

A. Eligible expenses may only be paid to the program participant when the date of the valid receipt falls within an eligible bike commuter month. Since the luggage rack was purchased before you began to commute to and from Penn by bicycle and met the other program requirements, this expense is not eligible for payment.

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Q.  I live in Philadelphia and purchased a bike earlier this year.  Will the sales tax on the bike purchase also be reimbursable?

A. Yes. Sales tax is considered part of the purchase price and is eligible for reimbursement.

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Q. I am a staff member who will no longer be employed at Penn next month, which is prior to the end of the tax year.  How can l claim my bicycle commuter expense reimbursement since I will no longer have a valid PennKey and password to access Concur?

A. Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it so that you can receive a form to file for reimbursement. Follow the instructions listed on the reimbursement form.  Your completed claim form will only be accepted between January 1 – February 28 after the completion of the tax year.

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Q.  How should program participants who are on leave file their claim during the open period when expense reports are to be filed?

A. The process remains the same. Using your PennKey and password, log into Concur and file your expense report as instructed.   You may access the site from a desktop or laptop computer or a smart device such as a tablet or mobile phone. The claim period extends from January 1 until the end of February for those bicycle commuters who wish to claim reimbursements for the tax year just concluded.

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Q.  What types of circumstances may cause my reimbursement request to be rejected?

A.  There are several reasons why reimbursement may be rejected. They include: missing or illegible receipts, receipts missing the required level of detail, no receipt submitted, costs incurred outside of the eligibility period, a bicycle that is not registered with DPS, duplicate submittals, non-eligible participant, a claim for an ineligible expense, etc.

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Q.  What is considered an acceptable receipt?

A.  An acceptable receipt has the following information:  vendor name, date of purchase, the dollar amount of purchase and item description (such as brake repair or helmet).

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Q: I lost my receipt. Can I certify a ‘lost or missing receipt’ and still request reimbursement through Concur?

A: As stipulated by IRS code and as a bona fide reimbursement program, valid receipts must be provided for all expenses.

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Q. I’ve received an email that indicates a revision has to be made to my Bike Commuter expense report. What should I do?

A. Corrections may be submitted through March 15.

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Q.  What happens if my report is not approved?

A.  You will be notified through an email from Concur if your bicycle commuter reimbursement cannot be approved as submitted, with appropriate comments.  You may then modify and resubmit the reimbursement up to the close of the submittal period.

The receipt date must fall within the appropriate tax year.  As an example, reimbursement claims filed in January and February 2018 will be for purchases made in Tax Year 2017.

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Q.  Do I have to claim this reimbursement on my personal taxes?

A.  Reimbursements need not be declared on your personal taxes. You are eligible to receive up to $20 per qualified bike commuter month tax-free. IRS guidance maintains that the value of transportation fringe benefits such as these expenses is excluded from wages up to, in this instance, $240.

 

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MISCELLANEOUS

Q.  I primarily commute to Penn by bike; however, I mayneed to drvie to campus on occasion.  I'd like to purchase Occasional Parking passes. May I do so?

A.  Yes. Purchasing Occasional parking passes is a conventinet option for program participants who use public transit, vanpool, carpool, or biking to commute to Penn but sometimes hav a need to drive and park on campus.  More information is available at http://cms.business-services.upenn.edu/parking/sustainable-commuting/occasional-parking.html.

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Q.  Who can I contact with questions?

A.  Please forward any Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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