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August 02, 2006
IRS Issues Final Regulations on Employer HSA Contributions

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have issued final regulations on Health Savings Account (HSA) comparability rules, which require an employer contributing to one employee's HSA to contribute comparable amounts to all employees who have HSAs.

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The IRS says the final regulations expand the flexibility of the proposed rules issued in August 2005. In particular, the final regulations include the following features:

  • An exception from the comparability requirement for groups of collectively bargained employees;
  • The ability to make different comparable contributions based on different variations of family coverage;
  • Further clarification of the exclusion from the comparability requirement for employer contributions made through a cafeteria plan. In general, under the final rules, if employees are allowed to contribute to an HSA by salary reduction through a cafeteria plan, all employer contributions to the employee's HSA will be treated as being made through a cafeteria plan (and thus excluded from the comparability rules).

The regulations apply to employer contributions made on or after January 1, 2007.

The IRS imposes an excise tax on an employer if it fails to make comparable contributions to employees’ HSAs.

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