Flexible Spending Account (FSA), a.k.a. Flexible Spending Arrangement, 是具有税收优惠福利性质，由美国雇主提供的cafeteria plan之一. 在这种安排下, 员工可以将工资的一部分缴纳到这个账户,一般是为了医疗,或者更普遍的就是家属看护等费用. 从员工的工资中扣减至FSA的那部分收入不需要缴纳payroll taxes, 这样对于雇主和员工都有税收优惠. 但FSA还有一条致命的不利因素便是: 这个账户中的余额如果在计划所属年份(一般是calendar year)结束的时候还没有用完, 那就自动没收了, 所以被称为”use it or lose it” 规则, 不管是为了医疗,还是为了dependent care. 切记切记. 孩儿他爹孩儿他妈在考虑这个账户的时候, 一定要衡量可能会产生的费用再决定具体缴费．
分类1: Medical Expense FSA (Medical FSA or Health FSA)
这是最普遍的一种FSA安排, 其作用类似于Health Savings Account (HSA) 以及 Health Reimbursement Account (HRA). 但是, 和与消费者驱动的市场医疗保险计划不同, Medical FSA大多说情况也会和传统的医疗保险挂钩. 同时, HSA账户中的余额在计划年度结束的时候不会被没收; 这是FSA所不具备的. FSA Debit Car, 又称 Flexcard, 可以查看账户信息, 感觉有些像不能自动取钱的中国医保卡.
分类2: Dependent care FSA
这一种FSA是为了那些需要工作的纳税人照顾与自己一起生活的家属产生的费用而设立的. 虽然多数情况下指13岁以下的子女看护, 如果孩子有生理心理残疾生活不能自理时,年龄不限; 同时和纳税人一起生活的父母, 祖父母如果产生了adult day care费用, 也是可以适用的. 但是, 所有的这些dependent, 不管是孩子还是老人, 都必须满足联邦税表格中的dependency test. 需要了解更多的纳税人朋友, 可以搜索本站的这篇文章. “Claiming an Exemption for a Dependent (孩子或父母亲属)”
该账户不能报销夏令营费用 (除了一日游那种day camps之外)或者是父母在养老院或者看护中心的长期护理费用 (如nursing home), 目的是为了确保你是为了工作不能照顾孩子或者老人才产生了这笔费用.
目前的Dependent care FSA在全国范围都有5000美金每户每年的上限. 已婚的夫妇可以分别选择持有FSA, 但免税额度总和不得超过5000上限. 如果在账户中报销超过5000,那么超出的部分需要纳税.
与Medical FSA不同, Dependent care FSA并非提前交费(“pre-funded”); 员工不可以再加入FSA之后的当天就报销全年的额度; 而只能报销账户当时的余额; 即工资中交费了多少, 才能享受多少, 不能提前透支下月的交费.
已婚夫妇中必须同时工作才可以满足Dependent care FSA的条件. 唯一的一个特例是如果没有工作收入的配偶是残疾或者是全日制学生. 如果其中一位配偶的年收入低于5000美金, 那么FSA的账户交费限额就以那位配偶的实际年收入为准. 很多公司的FSA账户管理员都很少提醒这一点; 但有可能因为这个失误的话, 纳税人往账户里面交费达到5000美金, 实际免税能用的却少于5000美金.
请参见IRS Form 2441 Part III for details.
今年年中的时候申请开了Dependent Care Spending Account，想用它来报销女儿上DAY CARE的学费，但是帐号6月1号才生效，我们一开始不知道只有账户生效以后的花费才能报销，就在账户里面存了$5000.但是女儿8月以后就上kindergarden了，所有6月以后一共的学费开销只有$2000刀。剩下的$3000刀如果报不了就要报废了。
by AAABBB (aya),
虽然理论上你可以向父母支付费用来照顾孩子, 但是父母不能够是你的联邦税申报中的dependent, 并且你的父母需要有在美国工作的权利, 即有可工作的SSN. 否则的话,你不能聘请你的父母作为care giver.
– The IRS prohibits these funds from being returned to individual plan participants. 但某些公司允许员工把当年没用完的FSA额度结转到下一年; 称为grace period; 但您是否满足需要和plan coordinator来确认.
– 有纳税人朋友反映, 在加入FSA计划之前产生的费用不可以参与报销. 这个貌似有道理; 但是国际惯例, 请与plan coordinator来确认.
– 只有在enroll FSA账户进入eligibility period之后才可以享受报销. 在这个period之前或者之后发生的费用都不可以报销, 无论是否是在eligibility period期间支付.
– 如果实在是没用完的额度, 又没有grace period, 建议雇人照顾自己家的孩子, 但是尽量不要在自己家照顾, 以免产生额外的employment tax, 又称nanny tax, 很多有名的政客都因为忘了这笔税, 爆出了多起丑闻.
– Forfeit机制是IRS制定的, 所以不能怪公司; 注定很难走寻常路来规避这条规则. 如果余额是在用不完, 那就多为你们家孩子看护花点钱了.. 总比浪费好; 只要符合条件的费用,用完好了! 但不建议费用作假. 看下公司有没有GRACE PERIOD; 因为这在法律上是允许的,公司有自由设置这个计划的权利. 这样的话你在明年3月15日之前发生的费用都可以用今年的额度报销. 而且第二年没有参与FSA计划的都可以在这个3/15窗口前用上一年度的费用进行报销.
– 最后, 如果公司人不多, 而且大家都有unused balance; 可以建议让公司平均一下把剩余的钱发给所有员工,不过这种情况下要交税, 而且均富了;最关键要公司愿意才行.
Form 2441 – 计算具体的Child & Dependent Care Expenses
FAQs from NY State.gov
|Q||How can payroll deductions to the DCAAccount be a benefit if I still have to pay for my dependent care expenses with my own money?|
|A||The money deducted from your paycheck is put into your DCAAccount before state, federal, social security and city (if applicable) taxes are taken. This allows you to be reimbursed with pre-tax, or whole dollars. State employees save several hundred dollars annually by participating in the DCAAccount. The amount you save is determined by the amount of money you set aside and your taxable household income. For an estimate of your savings, use the online calculator.|
|Q||How do I get reimbursed?|
|A||After the services have been provided, you submit a reimbursement request form (PDF) to the FSA administrator, along with a receipt or invoice for the services rendered-or your care provider may simply countersign the claim form. You can send in reimbursement request forms as often as you like and in any amount.It is necessary to submit a reimbursement request form for all money set aside in your DCAAccount.|
|Q||Can I pay my mother to care for my kids?|
|A||Yes, as long as your mother is not your dependent and will give you her social security number (SSN). You need her SSN so that you can report her as the caregiver when you file claims for reimbursement and when you file your income tax return. Your mother should report the payments as income. If your mother (or other individual related by blood or marriage) is your care provider and changes her rates, a change in cost of care in this situation is not considered an eligible Change in Status by the IRS.|
|Q||Can I pay my spouse?|
|A||No. You can’t pay your spouse to care for your children. You also cannot pay your own child under age 19, or any other person you claim as a dependent. You can pay your mother, father, or any other relative, but they must provide you with their SSN for reimbursement to occur.|
|Q||Can I use the DCAAccount to pay a maid, cook, or housekeeper?|
|A||Yes, if the intent of the service is to provide your dependent with care while you work.|
|Q||What about kindergarten? Or private elementary school?|
|A||Tuition costs from kindergarten and up are not eligible.|
|Q||What if my child is cared for at my church?|
|A||In the case of a church or other religious affiliated tax-exempt day care center, you need only provide the name, address, and tax exempt status of the religious institution.|
|Q||Can I participate in the DCAAccount if I use an au pair to care for my children?|
|A||Yes, you may use an au pair to provide dependent care services. But only the amounts paid to cover wages, taxes on those wages, expenses incurred for lodging, food the au pair consumes in your home, and agency fees are eligible for reimbursement. Au pair agency transportation fares are not considered expenses paid for the care of the dependent, and are therefore not eligible for reimbursement. Be sure you complete and file the appropriate tax forms with the IRS.|
|Q||What if my baby sitter won’t give me her SSN?|
|A||In order to receive reimbursement, you must provide the FSA administrator with your caregiver’s SSN. Therefore, it is important that you discuss this program with your caregiver before electing to participate.|
|Q||Who determines whether a child or other dependent is mentally or physically incapable of self care?|
|A||You as the participant must determine if your dependent is physically or mentally incapable of self care. If audited, you may have to substantiate this to the IRS.|
|Q||Can I pay for my mentally disabled child’s overnight expenses, since he’s at the school during the day?|
|A||No. This account is only for daycare while you work-not for residential care, tuition for special educational schools, or medical care.|
|Q||Do my child’s summer camp expenses qualify if occasional sleep overs are a part of any overall day program?|
|A||Probably, but the camp program must be a day camp. Sleep over camps do not qualify and your child must be under age 13.|
|Q||My elderly mother requires care. I pay someone to take care of her in her own home while I work. Is this an eligible expense?|
|A||No. The IRS requires that the person needing care reside in your home at least eight hours a day.|
|Q||My 20-year old son is mentally disabled and lives in my home. We pay a neighbor to care for him while we work. Is this cost reimbursable?|
|A||Yes. If your disabled dependent is unable to care for himself and your spouse also works, then the costs of caring for him in your home or at a special day care facility are reimbursable. The same rules apply if your spouse is disabled.|
|Q||I am a single parent and a member of the armed forces. If I am ordered to a combat zone, will my child’s boarding school expenses be eligible?|
|A||In the case of a dependent attending boarding school, only the cost for care is reimbursable. The employee must allocate the cost of the boarding school between expenses for care and expenses for education and other services not constituting care, such as meals and housing.|
|Q||I have a disabled friend who resides with me and for whom I contribute a sizable portion of financial support. Can I establish a DCAAccount for his care while I’m at work?|
|A||Yes, as long as the individual is a U.S. citizen, national, or a resident of the U.S., Mexico, or Canada; lives in your household for more than half of the taxable year; spends at least eight hours a day in your home; and receives more than one-half of his or her support from you during the taxable year.|
|Q||If I should incur an eligible change in status allowing me to enroll in the DCAAccount during the year, how far back may I calculate my expenses?|
|A||If you join after the open enrollment period through an eligible change in status, your expenses would be eligible from the date your Change in Status application is received, or the date you experienced the change, whichever is later.|
|Q||What if my child turns age 13 during the middle of the plan year?|
|A||IRS regulations state that once a child turns 13, child care expenses are no longer eligible, unless the child is physically or mentally incapable of self care. Therefore, you may reduce your election or cancel your enrollment in the DCAAccount when your child reaches age 13.|
|Q||My child was expelled from daycare because of a biting habit and is now being cared for by a family member, free of charge. Can I terminate my DCAAccount?|
|A||Yes, since there has been a significant change in the coverage initiated by your care provider. A participant may elect to terminate his or her salary reduction for care expenses if the coverage provided by an “independent third party” (your daycare center) is significantly curtailed or ceases during the period of coverage.|
|Q||What if I’m laid off, fired, or quit my job?|
|A||If you leave State service during a plan year, you retain your account through the end of that plan year. This means that although you cannot make any additional contributions to your account, you have until December 31 of the plan year to incur eligible expenses-and until March 31 of the following year to file a reimbursement request.|
|Q||What if my spouse is laid off, fired, or quits his or her job?|
|A||As long as your spouse is gainfully employed or looking for gainful employment, then you are still eligible to participate.|
|Q||What if my spouse and I have separated, but are not yet “legally” separated? Is that a “Change in Status?”|
|A||No. But other circumstances typically surrounding such a separation might qualify, such as a change in employment schedule. In addition, the maximum allowable tax-free reimbursement could be reduced, for example, from $5,000 to $2,500 if you and your spouse use the tax filing status of “Married Filing Separately.”However, even in this situation, if you provide more than one-half the household support for a dependent who lives in your household more than six months in a year, you may be eligible for “Head of Household” tax filing status, which would allow the $5,000 maximum reimbursement for dependent care expenses.|
|Q||If I become legally separated, how does this affect participation in the plan?|
|A||A participant who is legally separated is not considered married for purposes of the DCAAccount and may be reimbursed up to $5,000 of eligible expenses-even if filing a separate tax return. Legal separation would constitute a change in status.|
|Q||Can my spouse and I both use the $5,000 limit?|
|A||No. There is a $5,000 limit on expenses that may be reimbursed each calendar year for married couples who file a joint return ($2,500 limit for each spouse per year if you file separate income tax returns). If your spouse’s employer offers a similar plan, remember you cannot be reimbursed for the same expenses by two plans.|
|Q||My spouse is a full-time student. Can we participate in the DCAAccount?|
|A||Yes. However, the maximum you can contribute to the DCAAccount is determined by the earned income of you and your spouse. As a student, the IRS considers your spouse to be gainfully employed. Earned income is calculated as not less than $200 for one qualifying dependent and $400 for more than one qualifying dependent for each month the spouse is a student.For example, if you have two children in need of care, and your spouse is a student nine months out of the year and earns no other income, the maximum you can put into the DCAAccount is $3,600.|
|Q||How do I know if the Federal Tax Credit or the DCAAccount is better for me?|
|A||We encourage you to use the online tax calculator to help you choose between the available taxable and tax-free benefits, or a combination of both. As the taxpayer, you must determine whether participation in the DCAAccount, claiming a federal and state tax credit or exclusion, or using a combination of the taxable and tax-free benefits, is best for you. Your decision will depend on a number of factors such as your tax filing status (e.g., married, single, head of household), number of qualifying dependents, amount of dependent care expenses, earned income, etc. Consult your tax advisor or the IRS for additional information.|
|Q||Can I take the Federal Tax Credit and be in the DCAAccount, too?|
|A||You cannot use the Federal Tax Credit and the DCAAccount for the same expenses. However, if you underestimate your DCAAccount contribution, the tax credit can be used for any remaining expenses up to the maximum allowed by the tax credit provisions.The amount reimbursed through your DCAAccount reduces dollar-for-dollar the amount that can be used to calculate the Federal Tax Credit. Use the online tax calculator to find out how to maximize your savings.The current child and dependent tax credit limits are scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2012. Without Congressional action, the limits for the child care credit will revert to $2,400 of expenses covering one child and $4,800 for families with two or more children on January 1, 2013.|
|Q||Will my dependent care deductions be reported to the IRS?|
|A||Yes. Your deductions will be reflected on your W-2 form in Box 10. You must file IRS Form 2441with your tax return (or Form 1040A Schedule 2 Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A filers). Remember that IRS form 2441 requires you to provide a taxpayer identification number or SSN for each dependent care provider.|
|Q||I am a member of the DCAAccount Program and have enrolled for the full $5,000. I know I need to file Form 2441 (or Form 1040A Schedule 2 Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A filers) with my federal return. Do I need to file the New York State form IT 216 with my state income tax return?|
|A||No. You need only file IT 216 if you are filing for the income tax credit from New York State.|
|Q||I am divorced, and have physical custody of my seven year old daughter. However, my ex-husband has retained the legal right to claim an exemption for our daughter for income tax purposes. Am I eligible to participate in the DCAAccount?|
|A||Yes. If a participant has legal physical custody of a child for more than half of the calendar year, who is either under the age of 13 or physically or mentally incapable of self care, but has granted the non-custodial parent the right to claim the child as a dependent, the child is considered your dependent for the purpose of participation in this program.|