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Flexible Spending Account

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars out of your paycheck to cover your eligible out-of-pocket health care expenses and dependent care expenses This offers you the following tax advantages:

  • Decreasing your taxable income
  • Reducing your FICA and federal unemployment taxes


How It Works

Each year, you choose the amount of pre-tax dollars you would like set aside from your paycheck. This is called your annual election contribution.

According to IRS regulations, once enrolled, you may only change the amount of your annual election contribution at the beginning of each plan year unless you experience a change in your family status, such as marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, death or a loss of spouse’s employment. Changes in the contribution amount must be consistent with the change in your family status. For example:

  • If you gain a dependent, you increase your contribution
  • If you lose a dependent, you decrease your contribution

If your benefits include an FSA, contact your Human Resources department if you experience a change in status.

The amount of money you save in taxes depends in part on the elections you have made. Calculate the total amount you elect to set aside in your account with care. Any money taken pre-tax must be used in the plan year to pay for qualified, elected benefits or it will be forfeited – there is a “Use It or Lose It” rule.


If you overestimate the amount you think you will spend on reimbursement benefits in a given year, you cannot:

  • Keep the unused money as cash.
  • Save the unused money for similar expenses in the following year.
  • Use the unspent money for any expense other than the type of expense. designated for it. That is, money designated for dependent care expenses must be spent on dependent care; money earmarked for non-covered, eligible medical expenses must go to medical expenses.


How much can I save?

You can contribute any amount between 25 percent and nearly 45 percent based on your net earnings. Consider the following: You earn $30,000 a year and spend $750 on non-reimbursable medical expenses and $4,000 on dependent care annually. You are married and filing a joint tax return:

Employee Tax Savings

Without FSA
With FSA

Gross Salary



FSA Health Contribution



FSA Dependent Care Contribution



Net Taxable Income



Federal Tax



NY State Tax






Net Income



Health Care Expenses



Dependent Care Expenses



Net Spendable Income



Additional Spendable Income with an FSA




Call 716-505-8566 or 1-877-268-3799, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time.