Menu burger Close thin Facebook Twitter Google plus Linked in Reddit Email arrow-right-sm arrow-right
Loading
Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

fsa carryover limit 2022

A flexible spending account (FSA) allows you to save up money for medical expenses. You can use this tax-advantaged fund to pay for costs like copays, deductibles and pharmaceuticals. For the most part, you have to spend the money in your FSA by the end of each year. However, the IRS allows you to keep a certain amount from year to year. This is called your “carryover.” In 2022, this carryover is $570.

For help with FSAs or any other financial planning concerns, consider working with a financial advisor.

What Is an FSA?

A Flexible Spending Account (an FSA) is a tax-advantaged account that you can use to save up money for healthcare costs. You can use the money in your FSA to pay for qualifying expenses like insurance copays, deductibles, prescription drugs, over the counter medication, medical devices and other out-of-pocket costs. Most notably, you can not use a flexible spending account to pay for insurance premiums.

For a full list of healthcare expenses that you can spend FSA money on, see the IRS website.

In most cases you will make healthcare purchases as normal, then apply for reimbursement from your FSA.

An FSA works like a 401(k) or an IRA. You can contribute to this account tax-free, meaning that you don’t pay federal income taxes on any money that you put into your FSA. However, flexible spending accounts are employer run only. You cannot set up or contribute to an FSA on your own. Instead your employer will make contributions to this fund on your behalf and will not withhold federal income taxes from that money.

Each year the IRS allows you to put a maximum amount of money into your FSA. In 2022 contributions are capped at $2,850.

What Is a Carryover?

fsa carryover limit 2022

Flexible Spending Accounts come with one main restriction, and it’s a big one: You have to spend all the money in this account by the end of each plan year. You forfeit any money left unspent. (Most employers set their FSA plan year around either the end of the calendar year or the end of the company’s fiscal year.) Any money left in the account after this deadline is reclaimed by your employer. Employers usually use these reclaimed funds to pay FSA administrative fees.

This means that it’s important to get your contributions right. You want to estimate how much money you actually will spend on medical costs in the coming year. If you overestimate and are left with money left in your FSA, you lose it. If you underestimate, you can miss out on valuable tax benefits.

Your employer can offer two options to mitigate this effect:

  • Grace Periods. You can have an extra 2.5 months each year to spend the money in your flex account. This means that instead of your employer reclaiming the money after 12 months, at the end of the plan year, they will reclaim any unspent money in your FSA after 14.5 months, after the grace period expires. During the 2.5 months when your grace period overlaps with the new year, you effectively have two pools of money in your FSA account: the new plan year’s contributions and any remainder from the previous year. Only this remainder is reclaimed at the end of the grace period.
  • Carryover. Sometimes called a “rollover,” this allows you to keep some of the unspent money in your FSA from one year to the next. Note that carryovers are not cumulative. You can keep one, flat carryover amount from year to year.

Your employer can only offer one of these options, meaning that you can have a grace period or a carryover but not both.

In 2022, you can carry over up to $570. This means that if you have money left in your FSA at the end of the plan year in 2022, for any reason, you can keep up to $570 of it. The rest goes back to your employer. This is an increase from $550 in 2021. (That said, in 2020 and 2021 the federal government gave some additional flexibility for employer carryover plans due to the pandemic.)

The Bottom Line

fsa carryover limit 2022

A flexible spending account is a tax-advantaged benefit that employers can offer. It allows you to contribute money tax-free and spend it on qualifying healthcare expenses. You can only keep a limited amount of money in an FSA account from year to year. In 2022, that cap is set at $570.

Savings Tips

  • A flexible savings account is similar to health savings accounts, but different in critical ways. Make sure you figure out which one is right for you.
  • If you still have questions about how to use an FSA, consider working with a financial advisor. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/AndreyPopov, ©iStock.com/gorodenkoff, ©iStock.com/Prostock-Studio

Eric Reed Eric Reed is a freelance journalist who specializes in economics, policy and global issues, with substantial coverage of finance and personal finance. He has contributed to outlets including The Street, CNBC, Glassdoor and Consumer Reports. Eric’s work focuses on the human impact of abstract issues, emphasizing analytical journalism that helps readers more fully understand their world and their money. He has reported from more than a dozen countries, with datelines that include Sao Paolo, Brazil; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Athens, Greece. A former attorney, before becoming a journalist Eric worked in securities litigation and white collar criminal defense with a pro bono specialty in human trafficking issues. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and can be found any given Saturday in the fall cheering on his Wolverines.
Was this content helpful?
Thanks for your input!