Form 8889 for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were created in 2003 as a means of addressing increasing health care costs. HSAs give individuals enrolled in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) tax-preferred treatment for money saved for medical expenses. In general, HSAs allow for individuals to defer taxes when money is contributed (even if a taxpayer does not itemize on Form 1040 Schedule A), and money that is eventually withdrawn and used to pay for qualified medical expenses is also usually tax-free.

In this article, we will explain the basics of Form 8889 for HSAs. This explanation is not intended to convey tax or legal advice. Please consult a tax attorney if you have further questions.

Form 8889

Form 8889 is used for all of the following purposes: to report health savings account (HSA) contributions (including those made on behalf of taxpayers, and employer contributions), to report distributions from HSAs, to calculate the correct HSA deduction amount, and to calculate the amounts that taxpayers must include in income and any additional tax that may be owed if a taxpayers fails to qualify as an eligible individual. The IRS defines an HSA as, “[A] health savings account set up exclusively for paying the qualified medical expenses of the account beneficiary or the account beneficiary’s spouse or dependents.” In general, distributions received from an HSA to pay for “qualified medical expenses” (see IRS publications for the specific definition) of an account beneficiary, a spouse, or dependents are excluded from the determination of gross income.

For the 2013 tax year, Form 8889 must be filed under any of the following circumstances: if a taxpayer (or somebody on behalf of a taxpayer, such as an employer) made contributions to an HSA in 2013, if HSA distributions were received in 2013 by a taxpayer, if a taxpayer failed to be deemed an eligible individual during the applicable testing period and certain amounts must therefore be included in the taxpayer’s income, or if an interest in an HSA was acquired due to the death of the account beneficiary. The testing period begins with the month a contribution to a qualified HSA is made, and ends on the last day of the twelfth month following that month.

Subject to certain exceptions, taxpayers who fail to remain eligible individuals must include the qualified HSA funding distribution in income in the year in which they do not meet the eligibility requirement, (and this amount is also subject to a 10% Additional Tax for Failure to Maintain HDHP Coverage).

HSA Deductions

In general, the maximum amount that one can contribute to a HSA plan is dependent upon the type of HDHP coverage that an individual has (For 2013 and 2014, HDHPs require minimum annual deductibles of at least $1,250 for individuals and $2,500 for families). For individuals who have self-coverage, the maximum contribution for 2013 is $3,250, and taxpayers with family coverage, the maximum amount that may be contributed is $6,450. (For 2014, the contribution limit is raised to $3,300 for individuals HSAs, and $6,550 for family HSAs). Individuals who are at least 55 years of age as of the end of their tax year may make an additional catch-up contribution of $1,000 (and this amount will be unchanged for 2014). The maximum HSA contribution amount, however, is reduced by any employer contributions to an HSA, and contributions made to an Archer MSA, and any qualified HSA funding distributions.

In addition, any contributions made to an HSA during the month in which a taxpayer was enrolled in Medicare will not be deductible. Further, HSA contributions are not deductible if a taxpayer can be claimed as a dependent on Form 1040 by somebody else.