Tax Tip of the Day: Avoid Pitfalls Within a Flexible Spending Account

How do I avoid pitfalls within a flexible spending account?

Under a flexible spending arrangement (FSA), an amount is credited to an account that is used to reimburse an employee, generally, for health care or dependent care expenses. The employer must maintain the FSA. Amounts may be contributed to the account under an employee salary reduction agreement or through employer contributions.

Use-it or Lose-it

The general rule is that no contribution or benefit from an FSA may be carried over to a subsequent plan year. Unused benefits or contributions remaining at the end of the plan year (or at the end of a grace period) are forfeited. This is known as the “use it or lose it” rule. The plan cannot pay the unused benefits back to the employee, and cannot carry over the unused benefits to the following calendar year.

Grace Period

Because the “use it or lose it” rule seemed harsh, the IRS gave employers the option to provide a grace period at the end of the calendar year. The grace period may extend for 2½ months, but must not extend beyond the 15th day of the third month following the end of the plan year. Medical expenses incurred during the grace period may be reimbursed using contributions from the previous year.

Please contact our office for more information on this subject and how it pertains to your specific tax or financial situation.

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Since 1999, Berrios & Associates, Inc. has been providing a distinctive mixture of leadership-knowledge, and customer service satisfying client needs in advisory, tax, and outsourcing. Serving a diverse client base from individuals and sole proprietors to private corporations with nationwide and international locations. In the domain of accounting firms, Berrios & Associates has engraved a distinctive business based on diverse solutions through the interpersonal relationship of corporate and personal tax, corporate back office support, and business growth advisory. The firm directs clients through their everyday operations to ensure they have the right business model in place to meet their business goals.

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