Dependent Care FSA

If you’re paying for daycare for one or more dependents, maybe it’s time to consider getting more bang for your baby bucks!

The Dependent Care FSA allows for reimbursement of eligible daycare expenses using pre-tax dollars, and extends to dependent children under age 13 or a dependent adult spouse or relative. In order to be eligible to contribute into the plan, both parents must be working, looking for work, or in school full time. The plan is funded through monthly payroll deductions and administered by Basic Pacific. Unlike an HSA, the contributions are use-it-or-lose-it, meaning participants must submit for reimbursement of qualified expenses within a designated time frame.

Dependent Care FSA FAQ

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM I CAN ELECT?
  • Employees earning less than $120,000 per year are eligible to contribute up to $5,000 annually, and employees earning more than $120,000 are eligible to contribute up to $2,000** annually.
  • The maximum amount you may elect is reduced for couples that file separate returns, when one spouse is a student or when a spouse earns little or no income.
  • Determine your election amount for the entire plan year. Do NOT elect more than your actual expenses. Your annual election is then deducted pre-tax from your pay in equal installments throughout the plan year.

The maximum tax exclusion permitted during a 12-month calendar year is $5,000 per individual taxpayer or married couple filing a joint tax return. The maximum amount permitted could be reduced under the following circumstances: (1) If you are married and file a separate tax return, the maximum you may elect is $2,500; (2) If your spouse earns less than $5,000, you may not elect more than your spouse earns during the Plan Year; (3) If your spouse is a full-time student or incapable of self-care, the maximum you may elect is $3,000 for one child in day care or $5,000 if you have two or more children in day care. 4) Fisher Investments may reduce your contribution rate at any time if you earn more than $120,000 per year.**

CAN I BE REIMBURSED MORE THAN I’VE HAD DEDUCTED FROM MY PAYCHECK?

At no time can you be reimbursed more than you have actually contributed to your account through payroll deduction.

HOW DO I USE THE DEPENDENT CARE FSA?

The Dependent Care FSA allows you to be reimbursed for custodial or day care expenses for children that are your federal tax dependents under age 13, or for a disabled adult federal tax dependent that lives with you, so that you and your spouse (if applicable) can work, attend school or actively look for work.


Your daycare provider may not be your dependent or child under the age of 19. Only the Custodial Parent is eligible to participate in the Dependent Care FSA. In the case of divorce, the Custodial Parent is the parent with whom the child lives for more than 50% of the year. Only one parent can qualify as the Custodial Parent.

Participants will have access to an online account and can easily review balances and submit for reimbursement. Reimbursements are processed on Wednesdays and Thursdays via direct deposit or live check. Claims must be submitted by 12:00PM PST the day before to be eligible for reimbursement the following day.

QUALIFIED DAYCARE EXPENSES INCLUDE:

  • Actual reportable (“above the table”) daycare expenses incurred during the plan year (separate fees for services such as transportation, meals, classes, lessons, trips or supplies are not reimbursable unless the charges are included as part of your base fee – not itemized.)
  • Day camps, including day camps that focus on specific activities such as sports and arts (overnight camps are excluded even if the camp apportions the day camp and overnight charges.)
  • Educational (tuition) charges for kindergarten and over are NOT eligible for reimbursement.
WHAT IF THE AMOUNT OF MY DAYCARE EXPENSE CHANGES DURING THE YEAR?

In most cases, if you experience a change of status, or the cost for care changes during the plan year, you may be permitted to adjust your election. However, there are significant restrictions. Therefore, you need to choose your election wisely because you will not be permitted to change your election simply because you elect too much, make a mistake, or even if you just decide to change to a less expensive provider. In any event, you must notify your employer within 30 days of the event that is causing the change. Please refer to your SPD for additional details.

WHICH IS BETTER, THE DEPENDENT CARE FSA OR THE FEDERAL TAX CREDIT?

Generally, the FSA is much better but it depends on a combination of your income, whether you have one or two children in care, and how much you pay for care. The credit is calculated as a percentage of your day care expense. The percentage that you receive depends on your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). To determine the value of your credit, multiply your percentage by the LESSER of the amount you pay for day care or $3,000 if you have one child in care or $6,000 if you have two or more children in care.


For example, if your AGI is $60,000 and you spend $5,000 for the care of one child, your credit will be $600 (20% of $3,000). Conversely, if you use the FSA, you could expect to save as much as $2,000 in taxes on the same $5,000 expense. This is why most families choose to participate in the Dependent Care FSA.


For additional information on your estimated federal tax credit based on your AGI please review IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.

DOES OUR DEPENDENT CARE FSA PLAN INCLUDE A GRACE PERIOD?

Yes! Your spending account(s) include a 2.5 month grace period after the end of each plan year. You may incur expenses until March 15 that can be applied toward the remaining balance in your prior year account(s).

WHAT IS THE LAST DATE I CAN SUBMIT DEPENDENT CARE FSA CLAIMS FOR THE PLAN YEAR?

If you are an active participant on the last day of the plan year, your designated final filing date is March 31 of the following year. Please keep in mind that any unused amount left in your account is forfeited at the end of the plan year. This rule is commonly known as "use it or lose it."

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY EMPLOYMENT TERMINATES OR I LOSE ELIGIBILITY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PLAN(S)?

Benefits will not be payable for services rendered after the last day of the plan year during which you lost your eligibility to participate.

For more details about the plan, please refer to your Summary Plan Description (SPD).