FLEX YOUR DOLLARS, LOVE YOUR EYES: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS
“Tis the season to be jolly” and tax-savvy as well. As the year end approaches, it’s time to remember your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and put it to good use. What better way to use your FSA than protecting your precious vision.
Did you know that Flexible Spending Account covered items include Rx sunglasses, eye exams, and even colored contact lenses? So find our about your FSA—and then snag those stylish eyeglasses you’ve been wanting (or even turn your brown eyes blue.)
WHAT is a Flexible Spending Account?
Established by the US government, a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a tax-free financial account that can be set up through your employer to help pay for out-of-pocket medical and health-related expenses. You can set aside up to $2,600 annually in your FSA, which is deducted incrementally from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis. Typically, FSAs do not roll over into the next calendar year, so it’s “use it or lose it” with these funds. Dependent Care FSA limit is $5,000 for single, head of household or married filing jointly.
WHY have FSAs become popular?
The money set aside in your FSA is not subject to payroll taxes, and can potentially help you lower your taxable income by up to $5,000. So every expense you make with it turns into a sweet tax deduction. In short, an FSA can help lower your tax burden and increase your take-home pay while you set aside money for health-related expenses.
WHO gets to use one?
To use an FSA, you must be an employee of a company that offers it as part of their benefits package. If you are unsure whether or not you’re eligible for an FSA, you can check with your employer or benefits administrator.
WHAT can I buy with my Flexible Spending dollars?
When it comes to vision-related expenses, almost every purchase is eligible. You can use your flex dollars for eye exams, copays, prescription eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, reading glasses, contact lenses, and everyday purchases such as contact lens solution and cleaners. Even your favorite designer-brand frames are covered, as long as you have an Rx from your eye doctor.
WHEN do I need to spend my flex dollars before I lose them?
Since FSAs do not roll over into the next calendar year, many people need to use their funds by December 31. However, the IRS allows employers to offer an optional grace period that lets you use your FSA funds for up to two and a half months after the end of the plan year—typically March 15. Check with your employer or benefits-plan administrator to find the exact date for you.
WHERE can I spend my FSA dollars for eye health?
Drop in today to get expert help from our office. Your eye care team is well-versed in the ins and outs of FSAs, and can advise you on how to best spend those beautiful tax-free dollars of yours—on your beautiful eyes!