NEMT Update - August 2017
Key Highlights This Month:
Volunteer Driver Reimbursement.
- State and federal tax law--the requirement is found in federal tax law and Minnesota statute points to the federal law.
- It was brought to our attention that there were volunteer organizations advertising that drivers could get reimbursed the IRS business deduction rate as a volunteer and not have to pay any taxes. We then met with the MN Department of Revenue to understand the tax implications better for volunteer drivers. As a result of that meeting, the Department of Revenue drafted the information on their website to serve as a resource for volunteer drivers.We shared our concern that this would likely impact the number of individuals who would be willing to serve as volunteer drivers and how important volunteer drivers are for NEMT and greater MN generally. Unfortunately, this is federal tax law and we are not able to alter it at the state level.
- This issue has also come up at the Minnesota Council on Transportation Access and work is being done with that group to see if there are ways to mitigate the impacts on the volunteer networks. DHS is a member of that group and we will be engaging in that discussion.
- The RSVP program came up as one potential immediate solution for these volunteers. Janet G. is looking into this further, but apparently if senior volunteer drivers (age 55 or over) are registered with this program they would not have tax liability for their mileage reimbursement. Were you aware of this program or this possible option? Let us know if you have any additional information or thoughts related to this option. http://www.rsvpwv.org/
- As you may know, the Department of Transportation coordinates a group called the Minnesota Council on Transportation Access (MCOTA). The goal of the group is for state agencies to work together in coordinating different transportation benefits. Since the volunteer driver tax issue has been discussed in recent weeks, MCOTA assembled a workgroup to look into it a bit further. The RSVP program was brought up during one of our calls and folks are doing additional research on it. (Diogo Reis, DHS)
Requested Actions Needed From MACSSA:
New Trends in This Area:
MnDoT presentation in Spring 2017--looking to moving ahead with Regional Transportation Councils.
Issues/Concerns Regarding This Topic:
Concerns in this area continue to be:
- Legislative funding for electronic system to centralize transportation calls, billing, and dispatch
- Volunteer driver reimbursement—is RSVP an option?