What commuters need to know about tolls, tax deductions

Published: Oct. 31, 2016 at 9:30 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 31, 2016 at 9:59 PM EDT
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NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - Ready or not, tolls are on the way and will be in place and collecting your money by the end of the year.

If you haven't already, you'll want to sign up for a transponder to make sure you will get the best rate possible when crossing.

The Kennedy and the Lincoln Bridges, carrying Interstate 65 traffic, and the new East End Bridge will be tolled, but one lawmaker wants to put money back in your pocket if you use these roadways.

"I feel both states have done everything they can to make this easy as possible," State Senator Ron Grooms (R-Jeffersonville) said.

But is there the potential for a tax break?

"Generally the rule is commuting is a non-deductible expense," CPA Ike Orwick, a partner at Rodefer Moss & Co. in New Albany, said.

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He explained there are always exceptions, like if you are self-employed or have multiple business locations.

"They could be in a position where their employer has a reimbursement plan and in that case if the employer follows the rules and the employees and it becomes an accountable plan that can be a tax free fringe benefit to the employee and fully deductible by the employer," Orwick said. 

These are laws that imply for both Kentucky and Indiana. 

"There hasn't been anything passed as this point that would differentiate and give different tax treatment on a state level as opposed to a federal level," Orwick said.

This is something Grooms hopes to change. 

"Folks are concerned of course about the hardship of tolling on the Ohio River Bridges," Grooms said.

Grooms authored two bills last year that never got a hearing. This time around, he said they both have been tweaked.

If passed, residents of Floyd and Clark counties, who have a River Link account and incur at least $100 in tolls, could qualify for an income tax deduction. The second bill would allow businesses to claim a tax credit for certain toll-related expenses.

Grooms plans to file the bills in late December. If you think you will qualify for certain tax deductions during your commute, Orwick encourages you to keep detailed records as you go.

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