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Flexible Spending Account Calculator

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA), also known as a Section 125 Cafeteria Plan, is an effective way to save on taxes by allowing you to pull certain expenses — such as childcare, insurance, and medical bills — from your paycheck before taxes are charged. This accurate calculator tool shows you how much you'd save in net pay by making use of an FSA, based on up-to-date 2010 withholding schedules.

Definitions

Pay period

This is how often you are paid. Your selections are: Weekly (52 paychecks per year), Every other week (26 paychecks per year), Twice a month (24 paychecks per year), Monthly (12 paychecks per year), and Annually (one paycheck per year).

Gross pay

This is your gross pay, before any deductions, for the pay period. Please enter a dollar amount from $1 to $1,000,000.

Filing status

This is your income tax filing status. The choices are 'Single' and 'Married'. Choose 'Married' if you are married or file as 'head of household'. Choose 'Single' if you file your taxes as a single person or if you are married but file separately.

Number of allowances

When your Federal income tax withholdings are calculated, you are allowed to claim allowances to reduce the amount of the Federal income tax withholding. In 2014, each allowance you claim is equal to $3,950 of income that you expect to have in deductions when you file your annual tax return. The number of allowances you should claim depends largely on the number of dependents you have and your itemized deductions. This calculator allows from 0 to 99 allowances.

401(k)/403(b) plan withholding

This is the percent of your gross income you put into a taxable deferred retirement account such as a 401(k) or 403(b). While increasing your retirement account savings does lower your take home pay, it also lowers your Federal income tax withholdings. The impact on your paycheck might be less than you think. While your plan may not have a deferral percentage limit, this calculator limits deferrals to 80% to account for FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes. Please note that your 401(k) or 403(b) plan contributions may be limited to less than 80% of your income. Check with your plan administrator for details. For 2014, the maximum contribution to a 401(k) or 403(b) is $17,500 per year for individuals under 50 and $23,000 for individuals 50 or older.

State and local taxes

This is the percentage that will be deducted for state and local taxes. We take your gross pay, minus $3,950 per allowance, times this percentage to calculate your estimated state and local taxes. Please note, this calculator can only estimate your state and local withholdings.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Contribution

The amount that will be deducted from your paycheck each pay period for your FSA participation. All amounts are considered pre-tax deductions from your paycheck when you participate in your company's FSA plan. We consider these expenses to be ordinary after-tax expenses if you do not participate.

Dependent Day Care Expenses

The annual amount that you wish to contribute to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for medical and dental expenses. All amounts you enter here are considered pre-tax deductions from your paycheck if you participate in your company's medical FSA. We consider these expenses to be ordinary after-tax expenses if you do not participate. In 2014 the maximum annual contribution to a medical FSA is $2500 per year. This amount is indexed for inflation for years after 2014.

Insurance Premiums

The annual amount that you wish to contribute to Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for dependant expenses. All amounts you enter here are considered pre-tax deductions from your paycheck if you participate in your company's dependant care FSA. We consider these expenses to be ordinary after-tax expenses if you do not participate. The maximum annual contribution is $5000 per household. If your spouse participates in dependent care FSA the combined household limit is $5000.

Out-of-pocket medical

The annual amount that you wish to contribute to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for health insurance premiums. All amounts you enter here are considered pre-tax deductions from your paycheck if you participate in your company's medical FSA. We consider these expenses to be ordinary after-tax expenses if you do not participate. The maximum annual contribution of $2500 per year does not apply to health insurance premiums.

Out-of-pocket dental & vision

The annual amount that you wish to contribute to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for adoption assistance. All amounts you enter here are considered pre-tax deductions from your paycheck if you participate in your company's adoption FSA. We consider these expenses to be ordinary after-tax expenses if you do not participate. Contribution limits for an adoption assistance are set by your employer's FSA plan. Unlike other FSA contributions, adoption assistance FSA contributions do not reduce your Social Security or Medicare taxes.

Year-to-date earnings

Your current year gross earnings that were subject to FICA taxes (Social Security tax and Medicare tax). This total should not include the current payroll period or any income from other sources or employers. We use this amount to determine if you are required to have Social Security tax or additional Medicare tax withheld for the current payroll period. Typically, this is your gross earnings minus employer paid health insurance and any Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contributions. In 2014, year-to-date earnings is not required or used for incomes under $117,000 per year, or if your current year-to-date earnings plus your current payroll does not exceed $117,000.

Social Security tax

For 2014, Social Security tax is calculated as your gross earnings times 6.2%. For 2014, incomes over $117,000 that have already had the maximum Social Security tax of $7,254 withheld will not have additional withholdings. Please note that if you have other wages or employers this calculator does not make any assumptions as to the total Social Security tax withheld for the current year other than the actual inputs for this calculator. This tax is also referred to as the Federal Insurance Contributions Act Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance (FICA OASDI).

Medicare tax

Medicare tax is calculated as your gross earnings times 1.45%. Unlike the Social Security tax, there is no annual limit to the Medicare tax. Starting in 2013, an additional Medicare tax of 0.9% is withheld on all gross earnings paid in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year. If you enter an amount for the year-to-date gross earnings, this additional Medicare tax will be calculated based on the current period's gross earnings that exceed the annual $200,000 threshold. If no year-to-date amount is entered, any additional Medicare tax withholding will be calculated only for any gross earnings in excess of $200,000 for the current payroll period. If year-to-date wages prior to the current payroll period have exceeded $200,000, the year-to-date wages must be entered to calculate an accurate additional Medicare tax.

Federal tax withholding calculations

Federal income tax withholdings were calculated by:

  1. Multiplying taxable gross wages by the number of pay periods per year to compute your annual wage.

  2. Subtracting the value of allowances allowed (for 2014, this is $3,950 multiplied by withholding allowances claimed).

  3. Determining your annual tax by using the tables below (single and married rates, respectively).

  4. Dividing the amount of tax by the number of pay periods per year to arrive at the amount of federal withholding tax to be deducted per pay period.

Information and interactive calculators are made available to you as self-help tools for your independent use and are not intended to provide investment advice. We cannot and do not guarantee their applicability or accuracy in regards to your individual circumstances. All examples are hypothetical and are for illustrative purposes. We encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding all personal finance issues.

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