SmartBenefits is Smart for Employers

Employers with employees in DC, Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland can save hundreds of dollars per EACH EMPLOYEE who participates in SmartBenefits®. And, unlike third-party administrators, Metro offers SmartBenefits® free of charge.

For Employers

Tax savings icon Tax Savings. Employers can save hundreds of dollars per employee in payroll taxes.
Incentives icon Qualify for Local Incentives. Maryland employers can save even more with Commuter Choice Maryland and the Montgomery County FareShare Program.
Comply with DC law icon Comply with DC Law. DC employers with 20+ employees can use SmartBenefits® to comply with DC's commuter benefits law.

Tax Advantages and the Law

Using SmartBenefits®, employers can save hundreds per employee each year on payroll taxes and qualify for local incentives. Employees can save over $1,600 in payroll and income taxes annually.

This chart reflects the savings for a roundtrip from Glenmont to downtown DC for employees who work a five-day week and park at the Glenmont Metrorail lot (the parking fee is less than $265 a month).

  Private Sector, State and Local Govt and Non-Profits
SmartBenefits® Savings
Transit Only
$265 / Month
Parking Only
$104 / Month
Transit & Park
$369 / Month
Annual Benefit or Payroll Deduction $ 3,180 $ 1,248 $ 4,428
Federal Income Tax 22.00% (700) (275) (975)
FICA: Social Security 6.20% (198) (78) (276)
FICA: Medicare 1.45% (47) (19) (66)
State Income Tax 7.00% (223) (88) (311)
EMPLOYEE TAX SAVINGS $ (1,168) $ (460) $ (1,628)
Net Cost to Employee $ 2,012 $ 788 $ 2,800
Employer SmartBenefits®
Savings Per Employee
Transit Only
$265 / Month
Parking Only
$104 / Month
Transit & Park
$369 / Month
Annual Benefit or Payroll Deduction $ 3,180 $ 1,248 $ 4,428
FICA: Social Security Match 6.20% (198) (78) (276)
FICA: Medicare Match 1.45% (47) (19) (66)
Unemployment FUTA 0.60% (20) (8) (28)
Unemployment SUTA 2.62% (84) (33) (117)
EMPLOYER PER EMPLOYEE SAVINGS $ (349) $ (138) $ (487)

You can generally exclude the value of transportation benefits that you provide to an employee during 2019 from the employee's wages up to the following limits:

  • $265 per month for combined commuter highway vehicle transportation and transit passes [including Metro's SmarTrip® cards].
  • $265 per month for qualified parking. 1
No matter how you offer it, SmartBenefits® is a powerful tool for helping employers recruit, retain, and motivate employees.

Maryland employers may also qualify for additional tax savings under the Commuter Choice Maryland Benefits Program and Montgomery County's FareShare Program.

1 The Transportation (Commuting) Benefits section starting on page 19 of IRS Publication 15-B (2017) describes the qualified transportation benefits that employers may offer under the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. Section 132(f)). PDF Icon
Also see IRS Revenue Procedure 2017-58 Section 3.17 PDF Icon.

Qualified transportation benefits include providing a transit pass benefit. The definition of a transit pass includes smart cards like Metro's SmarTrip® card as described in IRS Revenue Ruling 2014-32 PDF Icon.

As always, check with your tax advisor before making any tax decisions.

Considering a Third-Party Administrator?

  • Third-party administrators charge a fee for their services. SmartBenefits® is fee-free.
  • SmartBenefits® is managed locally by transit benefit experts.
  • Some TPAs offer debit cards that let you transfer tax-advantaged funds directly to a SmarTrip® card. In that case, the funds for transit and parking are commingled. Consult your tax advisor before making a decision.

Get Started

Ready to open a SmartBenefits® employer account? Submit an application and an account representative will get in touch with you. Remember, Metro does not charge a fee to participate in SmartBenefits®, so there's no risk to apply.

Employees may participate only after their employer has enrolled in SmartBenefits®.

Have questions? Click the For Employers link in the navigation section on the left to learn more. Interested employers may also send an email to our SmartBenefits® account team.

Employer Resources

SmartBenefits® Employer Brochure PDF Icon

Free City & County Transportation Advisors