CSU Policy: Commuting

Policy Title: Commuting Category: Finance
Owner: Vice President for University Operations Policy ID#: 3-6003-021
Contact:
Parking and Transportation Services
Web: http://parking.colostate.edu
Email: parking@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-7041

Also Contact:
Business and Financial Services
Web: http://busfin.colostate.edu/
Email: BFS_Webmaster@mail.colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-1429
Original Effective Date: 4/1/2008
Last Major Revision: 2/18/2015
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PURPOSE OF THIS POLICY

Use of a university-owned vehicle for commuting to and from work is allowed under certain specified conditions with prior authorization and approval. Tax consequences to the employee may result.

APPLICATION OF THIS POLICY

This policy applies to all employees of the university.

DEFINITIONS USED IN THIS POLICY

Official Work Station means the site to which the employee routinely reports in order to discharge officially assigned duties. In the event of multiple workstation assignments, the official workstation is the principal work location at which the employee receives instruction, direction, and official communications.

Taxable commuting means commuting for which value will be imputed as income to the commuter for tax purposes.

Non-taxable commuting means commuting for which value will not be imputed as income for tax purposes.

POLICY STATEMENT

University vehicles may not be used for commuting unless authorized by a responsible senior (cabinet level) university administrator and Transportation Services. Authorizations will be made on the basis of convenience to the university, the work function, the type of vehicle, and the type of commuting requested. Personal use of these vehicles is prohibited and all university vehicle policies will apply to these vehicles. Vehicles authorized for commuting will be returned to, and remain with, Transportation Services or the employee's department during periods of foreseeable non-use such as the commuter's use of annual leave or extended sick leave.

POLICY PROVISIONS

General Rules

  1. Use of a university-owned or leased vehicle for purposes of commuting is allowed only when the employee is required to commute to and/or from his or her official workstation for the convenience of the university and for bona fide non-compensatory business reasons.
  2. Commuting will not be authorized unless it is required by the employing department and it can be shown to the satisfaction of the senior (cabinet level) administrator that the commuting: (i) is required for the university’s benefit; (ii) promotes a legitimate, nonpartisan, governmental interest of the university; (iii) promotes the efficient operation of the University motor vehicle system; and (iv) is cost effective to the university.  Commuting will not be authorized for any reason other than is necessary to conduct official Colorado State University business.
  3. University administration shall declare which positions are required to use a state vehicle for commuting. The administration shall also declare when an employee starts and ends his/her authorized use, and is responsible for ensuring that the commuter’s status is current with a properly executed authorization form on file.
  4. Commuting must be required by university administration. It cannot be for the convenience of the employee or voluntary on the part of the employee.

Non-taxable commuting may be approved, for the convenience of the university, when it is authorized and de minimisDe minimis commuting use occurs when, on occasion, an employee takes a university-owned motor vehicle home the evening prior to a planned business trip or the evening following an after-business-hours conclusion of a business trip and then returns it to Transportation Services the following business day, without any intervening personal use.

Taxable commuting may be permitted for any university employee who is required to be on call at all times when the employee is not on a regular shift AND must have access to a state-owned motor vehicle at his or her residence.

Taxable commuting may be permitted for any university employee who is required to commute to and/or from his or her official workstation for the convenience of the University and for bona fide, non-compensatory business reasons.

“Qualified Non-personal Use” (Per IRS Publication 15b, January, 2005)

Pursuant to IRS regulations, use of a "qualified nonpersonal-use vehicle," including commuting, is excludable from income to the employee. Reg. § 1.274-5T(k; Reg. § 1.132-5(h).

A "qualified non-personal-use vehicle" is any vehicle the employee is not likely to use more than minimally for personal purposes because of its design.

Qualified non-personal-use vehicles generally include all of the following vehicles:

  • Clearly marked police and fire vehicles.
  • Unmarked vehicles used by law enforcement officers if the use is officially authorized. To qualify for non-taxable law enforcement commuting, the driver of an unmarked police vehicle must qualify as a peace officer as defined by 16-2.5-101 C.R.S. (2003).
  • An ambulance or hearse used for its specific purpose.
  • Any vehicle designed to carry cargo with a loaded gross vehicle weight over 14,000 pounds.
  • Delivery trucks with seating for the driver only, or the driver plus a folding jump seat.
  • A passenger bus with a capacity of at least 20 passengers used for itspecific purpose.
  • School buses.
  • Tractors and other special-purpose farm vehicles.
  • Pickup Trucks: A pickup truck with a loaded gross vehicle weight of 14,000 pounds or less is a qualified non-personal-use vehicle if it has been specially modified so it is not likely to be used more than minimally for personal purposes. For example, a pickup truck qualifies if it is clearly marked with permanently affixed decals, special painting, or other advertising associated with your trade, business, or function and is equipped with at least one of the following items:
    • A hydraulic lift gate.
    • Permanent tanks or drums.
    • Permanent sideboards or panels that materially raise the level of the sides of the truck bed.
    • Other heavy equipment (such as an electric generator, welder, boom, or crane used to tow automobiles and other vehicles).
  • Vans: A van with a loaded gross vehicle weight of 14,000 pounds or less is a qualified non-personal-use vehicle if it has been specially modified so it is not likely to be used more than minimally for personal purposes. For example, a van qualifies if it is clearly marked with permanently affixed decals, special painting, or other advertising associated with your trade, business, or function and has a seat for the driver only (or the driver and one other person) and either of the following items:
    • Permanent shelving that fills most of the cargo area.
    • An open cargo area and the van always carries merchandise, material, or equipment used in your trade, business, or function.

 

 

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