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Tool | November 2012

How Much Should I Put in My Flexible Spending Account?

This calculator will estimate your 2013 tax savings if you use your employer's flexible spending plan to pay for medical and/or dependent care expenses. "Flex plans" let you set aside a portion of your salary before taxes to pay for dependent care costs and medical expenses not covered by insurance. Once you pay for the expense, you are reimbursed by your plan.

There's one drawback to flex plans, though. If you don't use all the money in your account by the end of the plan year, you lose it (although many employers give you until March 15 of the following year to use the money). You could still come out ahead if you save more in taxes than you forfeit. You don't want to lose a dime, of course, but to encourage you to take full advantage of the tax benefit—and not forfeit tax breaks by putting in too little—we'll show you the minimum you'd need to spend to come out ahead.

1. What is your annual salary?

$

2. What is your spouse's annual salary?

$

3. What is your estimated 2013 taxable income?

$

4. What is your federal tax rate?

%

5. What is your state tax rate?

%

6.  Do you plan to itemize deductions?

7. Estimated annual medical expenses for the coming year:

(Federal law now limits medical FSA contributions to $2,500 per year.)

Deductibles:

$

Co-insurance:

$

Prescription drugs:

$

Dental/orthodontics:

$

Vision:

$

Assistance for disabled:

$

Therapies/treatments:

$

Counseling/psychiatric care:

$

Medical equipment:

$

Other:

$

8. Estimated annual dependent care expenses for the coming year: ($5,000 maximum)

Child care:

$

Preschool:

$

After-school care:

$

Home health care:

$

Other:

$
 

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