The tax treatment of employer commuting support: an international review

Correctly pricing transport behaviour to take account of the ‘external’ costs such as congestion, and emissions imposed on society by excessive car use has long been a tenet of effective Transportation Demand Management. But while policy makers have striven to increase public transport subsidies, raise petrol taxes, and introduce road user charging schemes to properly price the real costs of car travel, in most cases correcting the wider influences of the personal tax regime has begun only relatively recently. This paper is based on work undertaken for the Department of the Environment, Transport, and the Regions, and the Inland Revenue of the United Kingdom Government, which is currently working on addressing this very issue. In addition to reporting the British situation, it also uses a series of case studies to outline how this same process has been approached in the United States, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and Norway, and at how successful they have been thus far with respect to TDM objectives. It then draws conclusions as to which direction policy makers should be aiming for in the future.