Tax Facts: Your HSA tax-time checklist (for before you file)

Organized or not, digging through stacks of paperwork is no fun, especially if you're still preparing before the tax deadline. Making sure you have everything ready before you file will make the difference between not hearing from the IRS to potentially getting audited (we hope not!).

Before you send in that tax return, here's a checklist of things we find helpful when doing our own filing. Be sure to speak with a qualified tax professional before making any decisions about your own situation.

Check that W2

If you work a 9 to 5, your company needs to send you a copy of your W2 by January 31. This form shows your salary, including taxes you've paid and any tax-deferred contributions like your HSA. Remember that only contributions you made through payroll will show up there so take that into consideration.

Having these numbers handy will help -- if you made contributions outside of payroll (also known as ad hoc contributions), don't forget to include those. For example, if your W2 shows a $2,500 contribution and you made a $500 ad hoc contribution, you need to put down you contributed $3,000 to your HSA.

Your 5489-SA form will also show any contributions you've made outside of a 9 to 5, such as if you're self-employed so use that when filing taxes as well.

Double check those distributions

Your 1099-SA is a HSA tax form that shows your account distributions. If you spent $1,000 last year on qualified medical expenses (QMEs), this number should be reflected on your form. But this form is only required if you got any QMEs reimbursed, so you may not need to worry about if it you didn't use your HSA at all this year.

Hopefully you'll have all your receipts organized so it matches what it says on that form. If there are any discrepancies, double check to see if the paperwork is accurate on your end. Maybe you got a few electronic receipts you forgot to add in or there was a simple miscalculation.

Any questions should be directed to your HSA provider. You'll want to do this before reporting your distributions or contributions on Form 8889.

Always check for ways to contribute more money

Maybe you took a large distribution from your HSA and you want to get the account back to what it was before, or you have higher anticipated medical expenses this year. No matter your situation, consider whether you want to max out your annual contribution before filing. In 2018, the maximum contribution was $3,450 for those participating in the health plan as individuals and $6,900 for couples or families.

Whatever amount you choose (if any), try to do it a few weeks before the tax filing deadline so that there's plenty of time for any changes to appear on your account. That way your HSA provider will have processed your contribution and you can still file your taxes before the deadline.

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Tax Facts is a weekly column offering straight up, no-nonsense HSA tax and finance tips, written in everyday language. Look for it every Tuesday, exclusively on the HSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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