W-2 Requirements for a QSEHRA

If you decide to offer a qualified small business health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA) to your employees, you might have some questions about how to report the benefits on your employees’ W-2s. The IRS requires employers to report these benefits, including how much each employee is entitled to receive in reimbursements in a calendar year. There are different variables to consider when it comes to filling out your W-2s, such as what you need to do if an employee did not participate in the QSEHRA or how to report carryover amounts, so let’s go over the most important things that you need to be aware of.

Reporting QSEHRA Benefits On the W-2

paper with tax incentive in the middle and a computer mouse and pen over the papers.
You can report your QSEHRA contributions on the W-2 form in Box 12. 

If you have an employee who is participating in your offered QSEHRA, you must report the total amount of the employee’s permitted benefit on Form W-2 in Box 12, using Code “FF.” The IRS description for this code is: “Permitted benefits under a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement.” This benefit is not counted as taxable income for the employee. 

It is important to note that over-the-counter medications used to require a prescription for reimbursement. However, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed in March 2020, has made over-the-counter medications eligible for reimbursement without a letter from a doctor or prescription. The medications should be reported on the W-2 Form as income in box 1 as well as in box 3, Social Security wages, and box 5.

Calculating The Benefits

When reporting on your W-2s, the permitted benefit amount should include only newly available QSEHRA funds. Any carryover amounts from previous years should not be included. However, if you use a non calendar-year QSEHRA, you will need to report a prorated amount.

Take the following example of a QSEHRA with a plan year that runs from August 1 to July 31:

  • For the plan year beginning August 1, 2020, a QSEHRA benefit of $3,000 was available to every employee for August 1, 2020 through July 31, 2021. The amount reported on the employee’s 2020 Form W-2, box 12, code FF is $1,500 (for August-December 2020).
  • In the new plan year (2021), the QSEHRA provides $3,500 to every employee for August 1, 2021 through July 31, 2022. The amount reported on the employee’s 2021 Form W-2, box 12, code FF is $3,250 ($1,500 for January-July 2021, and $1,750 for August-December 2021).

calculator over money and a notepad next to it with a pen

What About Carryovers?

When a QSEHRA has a carryover provision, only the newly available amounts are reported. If the QSEHRA allows for the use of carryover amounts from prior years, those amounts are not included in the amount reported for the current year. For example, if your employee has a remaining allowance of $1,000 in their QSEHRA allowance for 2020 and they receive $3,000 for the following year, only the $3,000 in new funds will be reported on their 2021 Form W-2 in box 12, Code FF.

What If An Employee Didn’t Participate?

Even if an employee did not participate in your QSEHRA, the benefits must still be reported on the employee’s W-2. You will report the amount of benefit that they were entitled to receive.

What About Employees With No MEC?

Employees who do not have the required minimum essential coverage (MEC) can still receive reimbursement through the QSEHRA, but will have to pay income tax on it. Specifically, any taxable reimbursements should be included as other compensation in box 1: Wages, tips, and other compensation.

mans body with business attire and money in his hand.

If you issue a QSEHRA reimbursement and then later learn that the employee did not have MEC for the period in which the reimbursement occurred, the employee must repay the reimbursement as soon as possible.

However, if W-2 reporting is required before the employee has repaid the amount, that amount is taxable to the employee:

  • The amount must be included in the employee’s gross income on Form W-2, box 1.
  • The amount is not subject to FICA tax and should not be included in box 3, Social Security wages, or box 5, Medicare wages.

Have Questions?

If you choose to provide a QSEHRA to your employees, great! They are an excellent way to help your employees get the healthcare they need. But know that you will have to report these reimbursements on your W-2s, and it is important that you do it correctly in order to abide by the QSEHRA’s guidelines. If you need help exploring different types of small business HRAs, or have questions about offering healthcare in general, EZ can help. We will compare quotes, answer any questions and even sign you up for a plan at no cost to you. To get started, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly with an agent, call 888-998-2027.

About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *