What is Section 125?
The US Congress created Code section 125 in an effort to make benefit programs more affordable for employees.
Section 125 is part of the IRS Code that allows employees to convert a taxable cash benefit (salary) into non-taxable benefits. Under a Section 125 program you may choose to pay for qualified benefit premiums before any taxes are deducted from employee paychecks.
The Section 125 program is a tremendous opportunity for you to enhance your benefits package.
The Premium Only Plan is the building block of the Section 125 Plan. It allows for certain employee paid group insurance premiums to be paid with pre-tax dollars. The qualified premiums (if offered by the employer) are:
- Employee Group Term Life (up to $ 50,000.00)
- Medicare Supplement
- Hospital Indemnity
Employees can save 20 - 40% of their payroll deductions. The savings are on city, state, and federal income taxes, including Social Security and Medicare.
Employers save the matching Social Security (6.20%) and Medicare (1.45%) taxes, which equates to 7.65% (1.45% for municipalities) of all the dollars put through the plan, a substantial savings.
What are the Tax Benefits of a Flexible Spending Account?
Many Americans believe that the taxes they are paying are too high. However, simple tax saving tools that could easily help to lower their tax bills are underutilized. One of those tools in particular is a flexible spending account or FSA. An FSA is a special account that you can put money into to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs. This is money that is not recognized as wages so it is not taxed.
Since the money used to fund your flexible spending account is pre-tax and taken from your paycheck before your taxes are deducted, you are saving whatever percentage you would have paid on that money in federal taxes. For instance, if you earn $50,000 a year and sign up for a flexible spending account contributing $2,000 and your tax rate is 30%, you would have a $600 benefit. Plus, there are no reporting requirements on your taxes since your flexible spending account is tax-deferred through an employer. Who doesn’t enjoy getting TAX FREE money?
Types of Flexible Spending Accounts
- Health: lets you set aside pre-tax money for medical expenses.
- Limited: for dental and vision expenses. People who have a limited flexible spending account typically already have an HSA that helps cover medical expenses.
- Dependent Care: offered by an employer to help pay for cost on your dependents daycare or after-school care expenses for qualified dependents. Both you and your employer can contribute to a dependent care flexible spending account.
Shopping with Your FSA is Easy
Your Flexible Spending Account can be used for non-prescription FSA approved items, such as bandages, sunscreen, and lip balm, just to name a few. You can find a full list of approved FSA items at www.fsastore.com. If your company offers a flexible spending account, we highly recommend you utilize this account if you aren’t already. Not only will it help you in case of medical emergencies, but your hard-earned money goes into the account tax-free.
If you have any questions regarding business employee benefits, Flexible Benefits, Inc. is here to answer them. Give us a call today and let us show you what using this great benefit can do for you and your staff. Contact us at (251) 237-1115 or toll-free at 1-888-821-9007.
Karen C. Simmons, Owner of Flexible Benefits, Inc., became a certified public accountant and began her career in the public accounting field in 1991. Since she has launched three companies successfully and is co-owner of Exhaust Systems of Alabama. To learn more about Karen, visit her on LinkedIn.