IRS explains 2011 changes to flexible spending arrangements

The Internal Revenue Service has issued guidance reflecting statutory changes regarding the use of certain tax-favored arrangements, such as flexible spending arrangements (FSAs), to pay for over-the-counter medicines and drugs.

The Affordable Care Act, enacted in March, established a new uniform standard that, effective January 1, 2011, applies to FSAs and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). Under the new standard, the cost of an over-the-counter medicine or drug cannot be reimbursed from the account unless a prescription is obtained. The change does not affect insulin, even if purchased without a prescription, or other health care expenses such as medical devices, eye glasses, contact lenses, co-payments, and deductibles.
 
The new standard applies only to purchases made on or after January 1, 2011, so claims for medicines or drugs purchased without a prescription in 2010 can still be reimbursed in 2011, if allowed by the employer’s plan.
 
A similar rule goes into effect on January 1, 2011 for Health Savings Accounts, and Archer Medical Savings Accounts.
 
Employers and employees should take these changes into account as they make health benefit decisions for 2011.
 
For details on current rules, see Publication 969 , Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans.
 
Updates on this and other health care reform provisions can be found on the Affordable Care Act page on IRS.gov. Notice 2010-59 and Revenue Ruling 2010-23 further explains this change.
 
Related articles:

You may like these other stories...

2014 has marked the fifth consecutive year in which the percentage of US-based internal auditors who earned bigger paychecks increased, according to a new study from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).This year, 92...
A new survey from online accounting software provider Xero found that nearly 90 percent of small businesses are forecasting an increase in revenues next year, while 21 percent are expecting growth of more than 100 percent....
Drug patents held overseas can pare makers’ tax billsAs the Obama administration tries to stop companies from avoiding taxes by moving their headquarters overseas, the makers of some of the world’s most lucrative...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Oct 9In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards.
Oct 15This webinar presents the requirements of AU-C 600, Audits of Group Financial Statements (Including the Work of Component Auditors).
Oct 21Kristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience’s communication style.
Oct 23Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.