Since day one of Scoop, our team had been dedicated to helping everyone upgrade their commute. And today, we’re making it even easier for more commuters to hop on board.
A bit of background
If you don’t know, Scoop started in 2014 with a pilot program at Workday in Pleasanton. At that time, we had just a few dozen commuters sharing trips. Fast forward to today, where we help tens of thousands of commuters carpool together each month. Helping the Scoop community grow has been the most rewarding experience of my professional life.
A key challenge
As our community has grown, we want to make sure all commuters, regardless of their employment status, feel comfortable using Scoop. Specifically, we get dozens of questions a week from commuters on valid nonimmigrant statuses (like H-1B visa holders) on whether they can be a Scoop carpool driver.
An exciting update
Over the last nine months, our team has worked hard with legal experts and regulatory bodies to provide clarity on how using Scoop would be viewed from a tax and employment perspective. We are very excited to share a memo from Morgan Lewis, one of the country’s leading law firms, clarifying the position that participation as a Scoop carpool driver, and receiving rider payments through the Scoop app, does not constitute unauthorized employment under US immigration laws, nor does it undermine the maintenance of valid nonimmigrant status.
You can read the memo or browse through the key points:
- Payments made to Scoop carpool drivers constitute a reimbursement of cost (e.g. gas, mileage, tolls, parking), not compensation for services.
- After consulting with sources within the IRS, it is our understanding that the IRS takes the view that these payments are not reportable to Scoop or the driver as wages on any information return.
- US immigration law defines unauthorized employment as any service or labor performed for an employer within the US by a foreign national who is not authorized to accept such employment.
- As described, Scoop drivers are not employed by Scoop; they are merely participants in a carpooling arrangement with Scoop facilitating reimbursement of expenses.
- Accordingly, participation as a Scoop driver and receipt of rider payments do not constitute unauthorized employment under US immigration laws, nor do they undermine the maintenance of valid nonimmigrant status.
Morgan Lewis is a national tier 1 law firm on issues related to tax, employment, employee benefits, and immigration law. Eleanor Pelta, the author of the memo, is co-leader of Morgan Lewis’s global immigration practice.
We are so excited to be able to provide this level of clarity that H-1B and other holders of valid nonimmigrant status can use Scoop without fear of undermining their status.
We hope this helps those who have been hesitating to use Scoop so far. And, if you know a friend who could benefit from this update, please pass it along.