Employees can set aside from their salary up to $240 per month in pre-tax dollars—a limit set by the IRS—to pay for parking at the USPTO garages, Metro stations or places near the Alexandria campus.
A non-government vendor, SHPS, handles the program and processing. Employees can participate in both this parking program and the transit subsidy program.
Employees sign up for the program and claim reimbursements at SHPS. After registration, employees remain enrolled until they change their election, much like federal health plan benefits. Money rolls over from month to month and year to year. However, spending is limited to the monthly IRS $240 maximum for parking. For example: You have a balance of $300 in your parking account at the beginning of July. You can only spend $240 during July, but you have the ability to adjust future contributions to avoid an excess balance.
Your parking reimbursement account will terminate on the date of your separation or retirement. Any eligible parking expenses incurred prior to that date may still be reimbursed, but those incurred after the separation date are not eligible. Employees then have 181 days after separating from the USPTO to claim reimbursement. After that, you lose any funds remaining in the account.
For reimbursement, employees provide an itemized receipt from the parking facility that shows the name of the vendor, the date(s) the service was provided and the cost. However, employees also can submit claims online without receipts and complete the affidavit section.
Employees can enroll, change or cancel a parking reimbursement account at any time. Any enrollments or changes to the election made by the first day of each pay period will be effective the first day of the current pay period. Any elections made after the first day of each pay period will be effective the first day of the following pay period. The only exception is during a holiday. For example, if you enroll by Jan. 15, 2012, that election will be effective on Jan. 15, 2012, the first day of the pay period. However, if you enroll on Jan. 16, 2012, your election will be effective on Jan. 29, 2012.
The USPTO signed the parking reimbursement agreement in mid-January with POPA and National Treasury Employees Union Chapters 243 and 245.