Put Too Much In Your HSA? Here’s The Fix — Healthshare

Put Too Much In Your HSA? Here’s The Fix

mistakePutting too much money in your HSA can happen, but the IRS takes a dim view of doing it. In fact, you’ll be penalized for it unless you catch it and fix it. Here’s how to do that.

HSA Contributions Have Annual Limits

For 2016, you are only allowed to deposit $3,350 in your HSA for individual plans ($6,750 for family coverage). You can make an additional $1,000 contribution if you are 55 or older. You have until April 18, 2016 to fully fund your HSA. Deposits that exceed this limit can incur tax penalties and/or IRS fees. For 2017, individual contributions will increase by $50 from $3,350 to $3,400 while family contributions remain the same.

Excess Contribution Removal

To avoid penalties, you still have a chance to remove the excess funds by your tax filing deadline, typically April 15 (this year it was April 18). You have to complete the “Excess Contribution Removal Form” and mail it to your HSA administrator.

What Happens if the Excess Contribution Earned Money?

Even if you have corrected the excess contribution before the tax filing deadline without owing any tax penalties, if the excess contribution earned money while in the HSA, you will have to pay taxes on those earnings.  Since earnings are usually very small, it isn’t a huge tax issue for most HSA owners.  However, the IRS has its own method for calculating earnings so the result might be different than what you may expect.

The IRS imposes a six-percent tax penalty every year if the excess isn’t corrected by your tax-filing deadline.  If you don’t want to pay that six percent every year, correct it before April 18. Correct your excess contributions as soon as possible, and remember to account for deposits from employers or family members.

For example, if you are under age 55, you can only contribute a maximum of $3,350 to your HSA for 2016. If your employer places a $500 contribution in your HSA for 2016, you can only deposit up to $2,850 to not exceed the HSA annual limit.  If the combined deposits go over the limit, you must remove the excess as well as the earnings on the excess before April 17, 2017 to avoid a penalty. Understand more about your HSA and how it works here.


114 thoughts on “Put Too Much In Your HSA? Here’s The Fix”

  1. tim holt says:

    Wow, what great information! I bet that less than 10% of HSA clients know this fact!

  2. Michelle Blackmore says:

    Hello ,
    This is Michelle. I recently had the opportunity to look through your website HSAforAmerica.com. You have quality & useful posts.I write for many financial communities. I would be highly privileged if you allow me to write for your website. The article will be completely free of charge and all I want is just a back link for my site.

  3. Jim McFadden says:

    Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for the kind words. However, at this time, we prefer to create our own blog articles. If anything ever changes, I’ll reply to you here.


  4. Jim Corn says:

    Good article that shows failure to keep accurate records of contribution can result in more taxes. This should be a warning to everyone with an HSA to keep track of all contributions (yours and others to your account) to make sure they don’t exceed what is allowed.

  5. darla says:

    If I use my medical account for covered expenses, does this go towards my deductible for that year?

  6. Wiley says:

    Hi Darla,

    Yes, if you take money out of your HSA to pay for expenses that would be covered under your policy had you met your deductible already, then generally speaking that money would go toward satisfying the deductible.

  7. Kim says:

    We are self employed and usually contribute to an HSA once per year. In 2012, our HSA bank pulled the contribution twice at the end of the year. I corrected the excess contribution in early 2013 by filling out a form allowing them to pull the excess and small amount of money it made out of 2012 and transfer it to a contribution for 2013. The 5498-SA they sent still shows the double contribution even though I corrected it in February. How do I report all of this to the IRS? Is there a special form that I can use to detail the correction? Should my HSA provider have filed a corrected 5498-SA?

  8. Wiley Long says:

    Hi Kim,

    If the HSA provider actually made the correction and moved the deposit to 2013, they should be able to provide a corrected 5498. Calling the administrator is the only option.

  9. John says:

    I made HSA contributions betwen Jan 1 and April 15 several times the past few years but failed to notify my credit union of my intent that it be applied to the previous year. I received a letter from the IRS indicating that the 5498SA showed less than what I deducted on my tax forms. When I asked my credit union to send me a corrected 5498SA for several years back to reflect actual contributions, they said the IRS prohibits them from going back and correcting. Are they prohibited from going back and correcting the 5498SA?

  10. Fred adams says:


    I apologize for our slow reply. AS you can imagine, our agency has been besieged with questions since open enrollment for reform began last week.

    According to the IRS, your administrator must “File Form 5498-SA, HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA Information, with the IRS on or before June 2, for each person for whom you maintained an HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA (MA MSA). For HSA or Archer MSA contributions made between January 1, 2014, and April 15, 2014, you should obtain the participant’s designation of the year for which the contributions are made.”

    You should have been asked this question at the time of making your deposits. If you were not, then it would appear as though your credit union is not using proper format. If you were asked the question, and did not indicate at the time that your contribution was intended for the prior year, then an account administrator is allowed to, but is not required, to make an adjustment and send an amended 5498SA.

    If I were in this situation, I would refer to a copy of the deposit slips in question. If the error was yours, then they do not have to amend the 5498SA, but they are allowed to do so. However, you should note that this form is really intended for information purposes only, much like a year end bank statement. If you can show the IRS that your contributions were intended for the prior year, or that your credit union did not ask which tax year your deposits made between January 1 and April 15 should be applied to, then you will not have any problems. If neither of those apply, and the mistake was on your end, then I am afraid you may need to file an amended tax return. Should you need help in that area, I would recommend using the services of KKO Lawyers, who specialize in both tax planning and legal services. They can be found on our Additional Benefits page at http://www.hsaforamerica.com/member-benefits.htm .

    I hope this helps,

    Fred Adams

  11. Marty says:

    It looks like I made an excess contribution to your HSA and corrected it using the excess contribution form. However, my contributions were made through my employer payroll, and my W2 still lists the incorrect amount as contributed to the HSA. Do I need to request a corrected W2, or can I just put in the actual contributed amount for 2013?

  12. Wiley Long says:

    Hi Marty,

    A corrected Form W-2 should be obtained due to comprehensive Internal Revenue Service matching programs where the agency reviews Forms W-2 and 5498-SA for inconsistencies. In hindsight, you probably should have coordinated the excess HSA correction with your employer’s HR department to ensure that the correction was also appropriately adjusted by the payroll department rather than working directly with HSA fiduciary. I would suggest you now immediately schedule a meeting with the HR department to discuss the pending required correction to your W-2 and to notify the HR Department that appropriate payroll threshold “gatekeeping” may not be taking place since an excess contribution was allowed to occur.

  13. Adam says:

    My wife and I are both eligible for HSAs through our work. We had a baby in February of 2013, so since now that my wife had a family plan, and I had a single plan, we thought her maximum contribution was 6,450 and mine was 3,250 (Total of 9,700). As of last night, we found out we were wrong. The total is 6,450.

    Last year, to make deducting medical expenses easier, we made out of pocket contributions (post taxed) to our HSAs, and planned on paying medical bills with that. My wife made a total out of pocket contribution of $4010 and I made a contribution of $850. Since we added the additional out of pocket, we went over our maximum contribution by $2,910.

    My questions for you is; since $4,860 was a post-tax contribution, can we get away with just deducting $2,910 less? My accountant thinks that I need to fill out an excess contribution removal form, and remove $2,910 from the account. Since the money was spent on medical expenses last year, he said that I need to make a 2014 contribution, so that the money is in the account. Then we would have to remove it as a 2013 excess contribution. That would then bring my 2014 contribution down by $2,910, and I really don’t like that idea.

    What do you suggest? I really hate to miss out on the over $700 in tax benefit in 2014. I feel like I am getting double dipped.


  14. Wiley Long says:

    Hi Adam,

    Yes, your accountant is correct here. You do need to remove the $2910 from the account as a 2013 contribution, because in addition to the immediate tax issue, the money in an HSA grows tax-deferred. The IRS will unfortunately not allow you to put excess funds there, even if you don’t take the tax deduction. (We believe that HSA contribution should be MUCH higher, by the way). But you can put it right back in as a 2014 contribution, as long as you don’t exceed the 2014 contribution limit of $6550.



  15. Eric says:

    A number of years ago, we contributed $2,058 too much to our HSA. Every year since, we have paid an additional tax of $123 (6%) on our tax return. Is there any way to correct an excess contribution from a period prior to the most recent tax year? Thanks!

  16. Wiley Long says:

    Eric – great question, and the answer is yes. You have two options, (1) Simply complete the excess contribution form to withdrawal the excess contribution and any earnings made from that contribution, or (2) Deduct the excess contribution and earnings amount from this year’s maximum contribution limit and only fund that amount for this year. Remember, any contributions made after January 1 of this year can be delayed and claimed on next year’s return.

  17. Faye says:

    My HSA bank never notified or sent me these forms. I stumbled upon them when looking at my HSA account online the other day. I always do electronic transfer contributions from my credit union to this bank and not in person with a deposit slip in hand. I had no idea I had to designate a year or that form 5498-SA existed. Should they have asked me for what year I wanted it to be applied? They are a ‘paperless’ site unless you want to pay a $3 monthly fee. They never sent me an email that 5498-SA and 1099-SA were available to view. Needless to say the 2012 form 5498-SA only shows the contributions made in that year (Box 2) and -0- for 2013 contributions to be applied in 2012 (Box 3). I deducted an additional $1000 which I contributed in the first 3 months of 2013 on my 2012 taxes. I called a HSA bank representative today and she was unsure of what they could do. Can I demand they do an amended 1598-SA for 2012? Is this a common issue with banks that are running HSA accounts? Can I switch to another bank that handles HSA’s or would that make matters worse? Thanks!

  18. Wiley Long says:


    Yes, you can always move your HSA to any bank you want. This may be prudent if you are having difficulties with your current administrator. Just inform them to transfer the funds to the new account.

    You should have received form 5498 in May. The bank can file a corrected form 5498, if they have mis-categorized a contribution to the wrong year. I would suggest you contact them, and request this correction.

  19. Shane says:

    Hi Wiley, thanks for this article. I’ve been wrestling with how to report this scenario to the IRS and have a difficult time understanding the IRS instructions, and was hoping this would be a forum to get this information out somewhere on the web. Everything I can find is somewhat vague. The scenario: I contributed $1400 to an HSA in 11-2013 when I wasn’t eligible. Because of this I processed an excess contribution removal for that $1400 on 2-2014, plus $2 more for interest.

    So I’m trying to figure out how to report this on my taxes – form 8889 for 2013. It’s a simple question of how do I report this reversal on my taxes – but I can’t find clarity anywhere on how to do this. Is an excess contribution reversal reported in 2013, or will it only resolve w/ my 2014 taxes? I hope the question makes sense.

    For form 8889: Box 2 is 1400. Do I put anything about the $1400 reversal in box 14a and/or 14b for the year 2013 tax return? Or will I only show the reversal on my 2014 return?

    All the instructions seem to be non-specific about the year. It seems like there’s some info from a few HSA providers saying I’ll get a 1099-SA in 2014 making me think to save the reporting until then.

    I can’t figure out if I put $1400 in boxes 14a and 14b of my 2013 return, or if these instructions don’t apply since there’s no 2013 1099-SA for this transaction, and box 14b instructions seem to refer to box 14a amounts.

    The IRS instructions say this:

    “Part II—HSA Distributions
    Line 14a
    Enter the total distributions you received in 2013 from all HSAs. Your total distributions include amounts paid with a debit card that restricts payments to health care and amounts withdrawn by other individuals that you have designated. These amounts should be shown in box 1 of Form 1099-SA.

    Line 14b
    Include on line 14b any distributions you received in 2013 that qualified as a rollover contribution to another HSA. See Rollovers, earlier. Also include any excess contributions (and the earnings on those excess contributions) included on line 14a that were withdrawn by the due date, including extensions, of your return. See the instructions for line 13, earlier.”

    I greatly appreciate any input on this matter – especially if my 2013 form 8889 boxes 14a and 14b should have $1400 in them, or if they should be $0 – and then wait until 2014 to report the reversal in boxes 14a and 14b. Thank you so much if you can provide some clarity on this actual nuts and bolts of how to report an HSA excess contribution reversal. It is most appreciated.

  20. Shane says:

    followup on above: I chatted w/ HR Block and they said in the situation outlined above (reversing 2013 HSA excess contribution on 2-2014) they said I would have 0 in all fields on my form 8889. line 2 on form 8889 (HSA contributions) would be 0 also as if no contribution ever occurred. 14a and 14b would be 0 also.

    I’m not sure this jives with the instruction on other forms and am probably going to call IRS directly as none of it makes sense to me given all the information about putting data in certain fields for excess distributions, but I wanted to post this anyhow just in case.

  21. Wiley Long says:

    Shane, yes, your consultation with H&R block was correct, as I understand things (please note that I do NOT provide accounting advice). Since your withdrawal of the excess was prior to April 15th, you can rightly say that no contribution occurred. You put money in, but you took it back out before the contribution deadline for the year.

  22. Gaco Le says:

    I had 100 dollar of excess contribution from my employer (it is pre tax). So I think i have to pay tax for the amount.
    I withdrew the excess amount via my HSA bank to avoid the penalty fee.
    1/what do i put in line 21 for “list type” ?
    2/it seems like i dont have to pay SS and medicare tax for this $100. does this make sense?
    thank you

  23. Wiley Long says:

    Hi Gaco Le,

    I’m not sure what form you are referring to re line 21.
    No, if that $100 was an excess contribution that you had to withdraw, you are not absolved these taxes.

  24. Katie says:

    Thanks for this article. I have a difficult situation, do you know how I should handle it?
    In 2012, my employer contributed money (pre-tax) to my HSA. I left that job in February and left that health insurance plan, making me ineligible to contribute much to my HSA. When completing my 2012 taxes (in the spring of 2013), I determined that the excess contribution was $1079. I figured it wasn’t worth my time to figure out which portion of the earnings that year was due to the $1079, so I just attributed all the earnings to it (a total of $1.73!) so the total excess that I needed to withdraw was $1081.
    Unfortunately, I had already been withdrawing money throughout 2012 to reimburse myself for medical expenses, so by the time I realized I had an excess contribution, there was only $638 left in my account. So I needed to withdraw the $638 as an excess contribution, as well as re-characterize $443 of my prior distributions in 2012 as being withdrawals of excess, rather than normal distributions. I called my HSA bank to tell them this, and they wanted me to fax forms and send them fees and such. I then asked the IRS how to handle it, and they told me to just withdraw the $638, report the $1081 as “other income” so I would pay taxes on it, and not to worry about the HSA paperwork from the bank being inaccurate. (i.e., my 2012 1099-SA showed a bunch of normal distributions, but some of them were actually withdrawals of excess contributions. The IRS said that didn’t matter).
    I did what the IRS said. So last year I paid taxes on the excess $1081 on my 2012 return. The problem is that now, my HSA bank has sent me a 1099-SA for 2013, showing distributions of $638 and it is coded as a normal distribution, not withdrawal of an excess. Since I didn’t use this money to pay medical expenses, I’m not sure how to handle this in my tax preparation. If I enter the 1099-SA info into my tax program as it was reported, and say I didn’t use it for medical expenses, I’ll have to pay the 20% extra tax on it. But if I change the distribution code to show it was a withdrawal of an excess contribution, I’m afraid the IRS will detect that the information I put in does not match the 1099-SA that was provided to them, and they will start an audit or something. What should I do?

  25. Wiley Long says:

    Hi Katie,

    Well now, this is a fun one. As I’ve stated before I am not a tax advisor, so I cannot tell you “what you should do”. And frankly, I’m not exactly sure. I wonder if you can contact your bank, tell them that they made an error in their 1099-SA, and have them re-issue that? Sorry to say, but I’m afraid you may have to deal with their forms and fees, as the only way to straighten this out.

  26. Kristin says:

    I opened an HSA account in March 2012 & made a $3K (family) contribution designated for 2011.
    The following year, 2013, I went on-line & made a $4K contribution. Apparently the on-line format was different than when I initially opened the account & by default, designated the funds for 2013 even though my goal was to have designate those funds for 2012.
    My CPA did my 2012 taxes for designating the $4K for 2012.

    This year, 2014, I went on-line to make a $5K contribution but it wouldn’t allow me to designate for 2013 since it would exceed the maximum allowance for 2013 ($4K+$5K). When I called, this is when I learned the 2013 funds were applied to 2013 instead of the intended 2012.

    I spoke to 2 Bank HSA managers & they said when I contributed on-line in 2013, it didn’t give me an option to designate the $4,000 contribution to 2012 so it automatically went to 2013 & it is past the 12/31/13 deadline to correct any direction of contributions.

    They said there is nothing they can do on their end, so how do I correct this?

  27. Wiley Long says:

    Hi Kristin,

    The bank should be willing to correct the contribution and send a corrected tax form. In this case the 12/31/13 deadline must be their own internal deadline for making contribution corrections. My suggestion is you contact them again, and raise the intensity of your request

  28. Kristin says:

    Thank you Wiley! I contacted a 3rd manager & they told me again they only have until the end of the year to correct “designation” of funds… perhaps a contribution amount can be corrected until the following tax deadline (April 15). Since my taxes were filed last year with my $4K contribution designated for 2012 & the HSA bank designated for 2013 instead, do you know how I correct this? My CPA advised as you did but the HSA bank told me there is nothing they can do. It would seem I should be able to do something here? Thank you!

  29. Whitney Johnson HSA Resources says:

    I agree with Wiley Long’s answer and would push even harder to get the bank to change the 5498-SA showing the contribution was made for 2012. If you can accomplish this it makes your tax situation much better. This change is not that difficult for the bank and you could offer to pay a servicing fee as there will be some work and expense on the bank’s part. The difficultly of the work, however, is unlikely to be the reason the bank has dug in regarding refusing to make the change. According to the law on being a custodian, the custodian must properly report HSA contributions and distributions – this accounting is really the most important function of a custodian. A custodian is not allowed to change years for contributions without jeopardizing its function as a custodian unless it has a good reason to do so. A bank made mistake is a good reason to do so. In this case, the bank likely has a clear policy (no doubt posted somewhere) that designated your contribution as for 2013, not 2012. Accordingly, it cannot change the year now because it properly reported it to begin with.

    If the bank will not change the 5498-SA, then you will be required to work with your CPA and amend your 2012 taxes. You took a deduction for an HSA contribution you never made. This is not a mistake you can let sit as the IRS will catch it once it matches your tax return with the bank’s 5498-SA for 2012. You will lose the 2012 tax deduction (so you will owe some more taxes for 2012 and will have to pay that plus interest and maybe a penalty) and you can use that HSA contribution for 2013 (as the bank already recorded).

    The excess contribution rules do not apply to any of this so you do not have any 6% penalty or “correct by the tax due date” issues. The bank stopped the excess from occurring in 2013, which was helpful as it caught all of this before it got worse.

  30. Wiley Long says:

    Thanks Whitney. Many of our clients have their accounts with HSA Resources, by the way.

  31. Chris says:

    I have a question regarding my HSA. I started having a HDHP plan in 2013 and maxed out my individual contribution to the HSA last year. My wife was covered by her own plan (non-HDHP), but didn’t contribute to any HSA. This year was the same, and my company contributed to HSA $600 at the begininng of the year. Since then, I quit and started at a new company where I also enrolled in the HDHP plan, and they too put in $600. I did make sure to calculate what my new “maximum” weekly allowance was since I now had $1200 put in by my companies that year. So far, so good.

    However, now my wife has left her job and started at a place that has much better insurance. For less than I am paying for individual, she can get family coverage which we plan on doing (I will ditch mine through her life event change). The trick is her plan is not HDHP. I am pretty sure the excess contribution form is the correct way of getting back my contribution for this year (I think I can keep last years contributions there since I had a HDHP last year), but I am not sure what to do about the money the company put there. Is this treated seperately? Since that amount never went “through” my paycheck, I never paid any other taxes like FICA and medicare on it. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  32. Wiley Long says:

    Chris, yes you will have to withdraw the 2014 contributions. You are correct that you have not yet paid taxes on the money the company contributed, so you will have to declare that as income when you file your 2014 taxes.

  33. Matt says:

    I discovered that in 2012 and 2013 my total contributions (employer and my own) were $4000 each year. I didn’t realize until recently that this happened, so I never paid any excise taxes for either year. If I decide to leave the excess contributions in the account ($1650 plus any interest earnings) and reduce this year’s contribution to make up the difference from the excess, do I have to also pay excise taxes for the previous two years? If so, how do I do this?

    1. Wiley Long says:


      Because the tax years have already passed, you can’t request a withdrawal of the overage or make it up this year. At this point you will have to pay the tax on the overage and any gains.

  34. C.S. says:

    Mr. Long,

    My wife and I just realized that we’ve contributed $3973 to her HSA and the limit is $3300 per year. A majority of that $3973 were pre-tax direct deposited from her employer, but perhaps a third of it is from post-tax contributions we made from our checking account. Here’s the pickle. We need to file for a ‘removal of excess plus earnings’, for at least $673 (3973 – 3300 = 673), but she only currently has $405 in her HSA. So, how can we ask for the correct amount to remove when there aren’t even $673 in the account?

    Additionally, how should we calculate the $ amount of earnings for those extra $673? I ask because the form needs us to break it out by the ‘excess amount’, and the ‘earnings’.

    Thanks for any help you may provide!


    1. Ralph says:

      I did this too to the amount of $3,000 and have only $300 left. What do I do?

      1. Wiley Long says:

        Hi Ralph,

        Was this $3000 above and beyond the contribution limit and also was this for 2014?

        1. Sekhar says:

          Hi Long,
          I’m in similar situation. I contributed $6622 for 2014 ($6550 + $72) to HSA and used the whole amount($6622) for family’s qualified medical expenses. The account has $0 now. My HSA administrator says as $72 is contributed in excess, it is subjected to tax penalty. I can’t withdraw the excess $72 amount as there is no amount exists in account. Could you please help me understand if this $72 really subjected to tax penalty, even though it is distributed from HSA account?. I already filed my taxes, if subjected to tax penalty I may have to file the amendments.
          Thanks for any help.


          1. Wiley Long says:

            Hi Sekhar,

            Yes, the contribution limit for 2014 for a family was $6550. You could pay in an additional amount to cover administrative fees – was that what the $72 was intended for? But it appears that money was not taken by the administrator for fees, but was instead withdrawn by you to cover qualified medical expenses. If that’s the case, then the $72 was an excess contribution. If you make contributions to your HSA for 2015 before April 15th, then you can withdraw the $72 excess contribution from 2014, and you should be ok.

          2. Sekhar says:

            Hi Long,
            Thank you for your response, appreciate it. The $72 is not for administrative fees, but withdrawn for qualified medical expenses.
            Just want to confirm, If I contribute $72 now to my HSA and with draw $72 from HSA account before April 15th, 2015, should I be not subject to Tax penalty on $72?. I now have my new employer sponsored HRA account (for medical expenses) to which my employer contributes, can I still contribute $72 to HSA and withdraw before April, 15th 2015?.
            Thank you for your help.


          3. Wiley Long says:

            Hi Sekhar,

            Yes, you should be able to as long as your current health plan with the HRA is an HSA qualified plan.

  35. DJ says:

    The forum is very informative and helpful.

    I had job change in 2013 and made excess contribution in 2013. In late 2013 I switched HSA account to HSA bank and all the balance was transferred to my new hsa account with HSA Bank. The excess contribution was made before the transfer. I did pay 6% tax penalty for 2013 tax return. I want to fix this issue by withdrawing the over contribution plus interests. So I requested HSA bank to send me the Excess contribution withdraw form. I was told by the representative that I should contact the previous bank as I have not made any contribution after the bank switch. But my previous HSA account was closed and all the balance is with HSA bank. It is impossible for the previous bank to return me the excess contribution as the account was closed. I have two questions:

    1) Should HSA bank return the excess contribution since all the balance is with them?
    2) I am currently not eligible for HSA contribution but I can sign up for high deductible plan in 2016 so I can make contribution to HSA again. Can I use the excess contribution+interest made in 2013 as contribution for 2016?

    Thank you


    1. Wiley Long says:

      Hi DJ,

      Your money’s all with HSA bank. They are responsible for getting you the form. They may not do the calculation for you but you don’t really need HSA bank. You can actually get the form from the IRS website and then just withdraw the money and notify HSA Bank. The tricky part is making sure HSA Bank logs it right in their system. But yes. I would hound HSA Bank to get them to do this right and get you the form and try to get them to do the calculation for you at first.

      As for your second question, you would have to withdraw the money per #1 and then redeposit it in 2016… so technically the answer is no. You can’t just leave the money in there and call it a 2016 contribution.

  36. animageofmine says:

    If there was excess contribution done to HSA account, how do you deal with the withdrawal? I have $600 excess contribution over the limit. I was filing my tax return and found out that I have to pay 6% penalty unless I withdraw the excess amount. I did withdraw $600 from HSA, but I am not sure if I have to use it for medical expenses only. Because I see in turbo tax that I have to pay income tax for that excess amount anyway.

    Few questions I have:
    1. Should I deposit the amount back to HSA account making sure that this year’s contribution does not exceed the limit?
    2. Also, do I have to prove that the amount I withdrew from HSA was not used for anything, but just deposited back to HSA (in case of audit)?
    3. Would I have to fill form 5329 while filing my next tax return?

    Thank you so much.

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Hi animageofmine,

      What you need to do is make sure the bank understands that you are withdrawing an excess amount, not just taking a distribution. Ask your bank for an Excess Contribution Removal Form to fill out. You can then redeposit the money as a 2015 contribution. You should not have to fill out form 5329.

      1. animageofmine says:

        Thank you for your reply. Appreciate it.

    2. Wiley Long says:

      When you withdraw the excess contribution, you need to make sure to notify the bank or administrator, so they can code that withdrawal correctly. Otherwise the IRS will need to see that you spent it on medical expenses, or they will impose a 20% penalty, plus taxes, on that withdrawal. You can certainly contribute that $600 for this year’s contribution, but that will have no bearing on the withdrawal. at You should not have to file form 5329 as long as you get that withdrawal properly categorized.

  37. romneyduh2012 says:

    Searching for help. Have an HSA account for the whole year, over 55 for the whole year, family HD plan. From all I read, I could contribute the max of 6550, and because of my age, another 1000. I contributed 6800 and employer 750, for the total of 7550. Tax program says I have excess of 3250, and I will be charged the 6% on the excess. How can there be excess if I have only contributed the total allowed amount? Hoping someone responds.

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Sounds like an error. They are correct, that is the family contribution limit + the catch up provision. It sounds like the tax program is only reflecting an individual contribution and not the family contribution.

  38. paul says:

    I set up an HSA and then my new insurance doesn’t qualify. If I dont take a tax deduction can I just leave it in there with no penalty.

    1. Wiley Long says:

      You would need to close the account and withdraw the money to avoid getting penalized.

  39. sub says:

    I enrolled in HDHP with my employer plan as single and contributing $3350 to HSA. My wife is enrolled at her employer HDHP along with my 2 kids. Does her enrolment qualify as family and allow her to contribute up to family limit of $6750? If yes, our total family HSA funding will be $10,100. Is this OK per IRS rules?

    1. Wiley Long says:

      If you file jointly, the most you can contribute is the family contribution of $6750.

  40. Duane David says:

    We contributed $7650 to our HSA in 2015 based on the assumption that our Health Plan was a HSA qualified plan. The plan summary indicated it was a 1500 (200) HSA Silver 94% plan that we obtained through the Affordable care act exchange. We have now been told by an insurance consultant that our plan does not qualify as HSA qualified. At this point we only have about $1800 remaining in our HSA account due to high medical expenses this year. We are not able to lower our 2016 HSA contributions by that amount due to the fact that both my wife and I will be on Medicare at some points during the year. Please advise as to how we need to deal with this issue. Thank You.

    1. Wiley Long says:

      You unfortunately will have to pay income tax on your over-contribution, plus a 6% excise tax on the contribution and any earnings from it. To remedy this, you need to structure your medical expense withdrawals instead as reversals to your 2015 contribution, and also remove the remaining $1800. The bank where you have your HSA should be able to help you do this. You have until April 15th to do so.

  41. Beth says:

    Have an individual HSA and took $3000 out but did not spend on medical. Put the $3000 back later in the year not realizing tax consequences. Now the bank shows it as a contribution. Employer puts in $2200 so it shows $5200 in contributions, creating an excess contribution of $1850. If the form for excess contribution removal is used before April 15th then am I right in assuming the bank wont report this $1850 as a distribution in 2016?

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Hi Beth,

      That is correct. You must withdraw the excess contribution no later than April 15th, and you must also withdraw any income earned on the withdrawn contributions, and include that earnings in “Other income” on your tax return. Also, of course, you cannot claim an exclusion from income for the excess contribution.

  42. serlien says:

    I started a HDHP in April 2015, and I contributed the full $3350 to my HSA in 2015. However, I think there is a chance I may move off of a HDHP and not be eligible through the testing period (Dec 31 2016). Can I withdraw the extra amount I contributed due to the “last month rule” as “excess contributions” in 2015 to avoid penalties in 2016?

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Hi Serlien,

      Yes, you can, as long as you do so prior to April 15th.

  43. deedee says:

    2014 excess contribution. trying to fix before the 2015 return filed. how? can I have the excess distribution withdrawal show as happening in 2015, even though it is now 2016, but want to put on 2015 return?

    1. Wiley Long says:


      To avoid tax issues, you must withdraw your excess 2014 contribution no later than the filing deadline for your 2014 return. If this had been an excess contribution for 2015, you would request that your bank where your HSA is held makes an adjustment to your contribution amount, and you would withdraw the excess contribution. The form 8889 that you receive from them should then reflect the accurate amount of your contribution for that year, and you will have no penalty on Form 5329, because your excess contribution has been removed.

  44. JT says:

    I contributed $4300 to an HSA during 2014 and then learned in Feb. 2015 that Medicare had started my Medicare Part A retroactive to Oct. 2014 so I overcontributed. Unfortunately there was a change in HSA plans made by my employer and by the time I learned all this, my Wells Fargo HSA had already sent the monies to the new HSA Cigna. Long story short, I was given bad advice by Cigna and did not file request for excess contribution. Can I still request the return of excess for 2014 contributions and if so, how?

    1. Wiley Long says:


      You only have six months from the due date of the return (not including extensions) to withdraw the excess plus income earned from it, by filing an amended return.

      If you are past this deadline, you will have to pay a penalty for that year, if you can then file form 5329 to apply that excess to the next year (if you still qualify). You then get to deduct the excess from the first year, in that next year.

  45. Bill Schretter says:

    Question, In April 2015, What if client contributes to HSA through the custodian website, but clicks that it is a current year contribution for 2015, instead of a Prior Year contribution for 2014. All other tax filings correctly indicate the right amount of money the client is allowed. Custodian records are wrong and now block any additional 2016 contributions because there systems would show as an over contribution. But, there is technically no over contribution, it was simply a typo that was not corrected before reporting to IRS on 5498-SA ( client error). A year later the error is found. How does custodian update the records to correct the 2015 5498-SA to correctly show the 2014 and 2015 contributions? The client can’t really refile their taxes to correct and it was not an over-contribution, it was a classification typo of a contribution ? .

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Bill, I would suggest contacting the HSA custodian and explain the error. They should have an excess contribution removal form that you can fill out to remove that contribution from 2015. That form should also have a box you can check to reallocate the requested amount to the correct year.

  46. Tony says:

    I have a good one – a client switched jobs through the year but did not monitor the total contributions into her HSA. She ended up over contributing by about $2400. Towards the end of the year she had a child and used all the money in the HSA so she doesn’t have enough in the account to withdraw the excess contributions. What happens in this situation?

  47. Harvey Caine says:

    In 2015 I made excess contributions and excess distributions to and from my HSA account.( I made this mistake because I thought I had a family HSA and in fact have a personal HSA. This mistake occurred because I knew I was allowed to deduct health care expenses for my family, so I mistaken thought that the family contribution maximum applied, even though its an indivdual HSA.)

    I have filed an extension for my 2015 taxes. So in 2015 I have excess contributions of about $3100 and excess distributions of about $3000. I discovered this while I was preparing my taxes just after April 18th. My HSA currently has a very low balance, insufficient to correct these excesses. How do I correct the excess contributions and distributions?

    This is an individual HSA through my credit union, I contribute to it directly, my employer does not contribute. I can deposit and withdraw the needed additional funds into the HSA, but that would be a 2016 contribution and distribution correct? The earned interest is less than $1, so that’s not an issue. What’s a law-abiding citizen to do? Your advice is greatly appreciated.

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Hi Harvey,

      Essentially what you will need to do is both replace the distributions that you took from your HSA, and then remove the excess contribution you made to the account.

      According to IRS rules, by returning the mistaken HSA distribution, that amount will not be included in your gross income under IRC Section 223(f)(2), nor will it be subject to the 20% penalty under IRC Section 223(f)(4), or to an excise tax on excess contributions under Section 4973(a)(5). Your HSA Administrator should have a form that you can submit to return the mistaken distribution, along with a check to repay this distribution. You can then report removal of the excess contribution on Form 1099-SA.

      You must then withdraw the excess contribution. Make sure that you specify to the bank or administrator that the withdrawal is an “excess contribution” for tax year 2015. The HSA administrator should then adjust the contributions that are shown on form 5498-SA. Alternatively, you could apply your excess contribution toward your 2016 contributions.

      You can probably do this mostly on paper, without actually having to move so much money around. Talk to your HSA administrator, and see if they will reclassify your distributions as withdrawals of excess contributions.

      Be sure to do this prior to the deadline of your extension, and you should be ok.

      1. Harvey Caine says:

        If i deposit the $3000 into my HSA (so that I can withdraw it) the bank will code it as a 2016 contribution. (I am already over my 2015 contribution limit.) This will limit significantly reduce the remaining amount of my HSA contributions for 2016. Is there a way around this? The bank says there is no way around it. If not, I am loosing much of my 2016 HSA tax benefits, which in my income level equals 15% of $3,000.

        Also, I see mention of a 6%excise penalty and 20% excess contribution penalty. What do they each apply to?

        If possible please respond ASAP as I want to correct the HSA over contributions in time for them to issue me a corrected 1099 and/or 5498-SA. THANKS!

        1. Wiley Long says:

          Hi Harvey,

          You need to coordinate with your bank, so they understand that your deposit is not a 2016 deposit, but rather you need to repay the excess distribution. I would suggest you try talking to them again.

          The excise tax is on your excess contributions. Which means you must still pay income taxes on any excess contributions and related earnings, plus an additional 6% penalty.

          The 20% tax is on withdrawals that were not used to pay for HSA qualified medical expenses. You would also have to pay normal income taxes on those withdrawals.

          As always, please consult with your personal tax advisor when making any decisions involving your tax situation.

  48. neela says:

    Hi. I accidentally deposited a personal check into my HSA account. This is post-tax money. Could I reverse the transaction without penalty? Thank you.

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Yes, that should be no problem. Just contact your bank or administrator, and let them know.

  49. Harlen Marks says:

    I misjudged the amount to put in my hsa by a few hundred dollars. My wife’s job is still depositing about $8 per month into it, so at the end of the year I will be about $300 over the $6750 limit. But i will only have a balance of about $100 in the account at years end. How do I file a return of excess of there isn’t enough in the account to cover it?

    1. Wiley Long says:

      You should contact your HSA administrator or custodian to help you re-distribute the contribution prior to your annual tax filing. They will be able to help you with this.

  50. Eric Turner says:

    Hi – what if you spent the excess on medical so there is nothing to withdraw?

  51. Steve Lenhardt says:

    I was on track to contribute to family max allowed. My wife turned 65 in April and I just learned weren’t eligible to contribute the full amount but rather pro-rate. How do I prorate the correct amount to her retirement?

  52. Brian L says:

    I have not over contributed to my HSA this year, but have contributed quite a lot.
    I would like to reduce the amount for this year. Is it legal to reverse a contribution from this year (in this year) by withdrawing it from my HSA directly. I have an account at a Credit Union that I think would allow me to do that.

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Unfortunately, once a contribution has been made you cannot remove the funds without paying a 20% penalty.

  53. Val Steele says:

    I am enrolled in Medicare now as of December 1 and I am still working. I made a family contribution of $7750 for 2016. I realize the mistake and I’m going to remove the excess (1/12 of it). My question concerns contributions for my wife. She is not employed, still maintains a HDHP and is not yet 65. If she opens up her own HSA account can she contribute $1000 catch up for 2016? And can she also contribute one 12th of the $3350 for 2016?

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Hi Val,

      Yes, she could make her catch-up contribution as well as the pro-rated annual contribution.

  54. Marla says:

    We changed health insurance plans in October 2015. This change made my family eligible for a HSA account. I contributed $1,300 toward that account in December 2015. I contributed another $6,000 in January 2016, with the intention that $5,350 would go toward 2015 to max it out, and the remainder would go toward 2016. I did some research and saw that would be fine as long as I made the contribution before April 15, 2016, and reported it correctly on my tax return. We filed our 2015 tax return showing that our 2015 HSA contribution was $6,650.

    I got a letter from my bank earlier this week saying that they only reported that we only contributed $1,300 in 2015, which meant that we have actually over-contributed in 2016. I didn’t know that I needed to fill out a form with the bank in order to allocate it the way I wanted to.

    Today, the bank said “Unfortunately we are unable to make a correction to your 5498-SA. All we can do at this time is remove the $250 excess contribution from this year and start fresh next year. I have attached a copy of the distribution request to get rid of the excess contribution for this year.”

    I don’t want to remove the $250 ‘excess’ – I want the bank to re-allocate the funds the way I wanted them in the first place. It’s important to me because I need to be able to max out both 2015, and I was planning to still contribute more in 2016 to max that out as well.

    What can I do? Thanks in advance.

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Hi Marla,

      As I understand, it should be possible for them to submit a corrected form 5498-SA to the IRS, and to you. I suggest you demand to talk to someone else, and ask again.

  55. Dan says:

    I used an ACH transfer to move funds from one HSA account to a new one at another bank. Something I read made me think this was okay, but now the new bank is notifying me that I have excessive contributions because they logged the transfer as new funds coming into the account.

    They initially indicated they could “recode” the transferred in funds to show they were rollover dollars, but now they are telling me that the bank the funds originated from needs to recode it on their end first. When I called the originating bank, they told me they couldn’t help since the funds were already out of their hands.

    At this point I’m not sure what to do to make sure I don’t get hit with any taxes or penalties on these funds. Do you have any suggestions on the best way to fix this mess that I made for myself?

  56. Hoa says:

    I had an excess HSA in 2016 of $3,987 which were corrected before 12/31/2016. In 2016 I paid $22 on line 49 of form 5329 – Additional Tax as calculated by Turbo Tax. It is fine as it is small though I did not understand how the $22 was calculated
    Now in 2017, I just tried to use 2017 Turbo Tax for estimating 2017 taxes. It is weird. Turbo Tax calculates again the 6% penalty on that 2016 excess $3,987. Does any one understand this calculation?
    I am retired and do not have any HSA contribution in 2017
    Please help. Thank you.

    1. Wiley Long says:

      I would defer to a CPA.

      1. Hoa says:

        thank you I have got help from Turbo Tax team

  57. Doug says:

    Both my wife and I are enrolled in HDHP/HSA plans through our employers, we are each over 50 and we file joint tax returns. Is it correct to assume for 2018 that we could contribute a total of $8,900 ($6900 year max + $2000 catchup contributions)?

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Hi Doug, you can make the annual family contribution of $6,900, but you will not be able to take advantage of the catch-up provision until you turn 55. Additionally, in order for you both to make the additional $1000 contribution (once 55), you would both need to have your own individual HSA account. If you are both using one HSA family account, you can only make one catch-up contribution of $1000.

  58. Amy Sullivan says:

    I began contributing to a new HSA account on August 1st. From August 1 to December 31, 2017 I contributed a total of $500. As I understand it, the max contribution is much higher than $500. However, TurboTax, it’s telling me that I over-contributed by $500 and need to withdraw this before April 17. I don’t understand why it’s telling me five hundred dollars is over contributing.

    1. Jen Row says:

      I am having a similar issue, my total deposits were less than $1900 and the max is $3,350 for an individual.

      1. Amy Sullivan says:

        I figured it out… I didn’t understand what “HDHP” was so I had initially selected “No”. After some Googling, I learned that I actually have a HDHP (High deductible health plan). Basically, if you have a HSA account, you probably have a HDHP. For my employers, we can only have a HSA account with the lowest health care plan which has a high deductible. When TurboTax or whatever asks if you have an HDHP, select “Yes.” It’ll fix this issue.

        1. Jen Row says:

          Oh my damn thank you, I will look at that when I get back!

  59. Shannon King says:

    If we over contributed in 2017 and do a withdrawal now, does it matter if some of what is withdrawn was deposited in 2018?

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Hi Shannon, I recommend contacting your HSA administrator and explain that you overcontributed in 2017 and need to pull the money out. They provide you with a form and assist you with taking it out. It will not impact any 2018 contributions you’ve made.

      1. Shannon King says:

        Thank you! I have actually already sent forms in to both mine and my husband’s HSA to withdraw funds. The amount we need to with draw exceeds what is available unless I dip into my 2018 deposits (new HSA account). My question is whether I can use funds from a 2018 new HSA to balance the over contribution of a different HSA in 2017.

        1. Wiley Long says:

          Hi Shannon, I do not think this would work, but I suggest contacting the bank where the new HSA account is, and asking them if this is possible. They would need to code the withdrawal correctly so that the IRS does not try to tax and penalize you on that withdrawal. I am just not sure if they could call it a withdrawal of an over-contribution from 2017, if that account did not have any 2017 deposits.

  60. Andrea Dizona says:

    I’m hoping someone can help because I can’t seem to get answers from the IRS or anyone else. We changed from an HDHP plan midyear in 2017. From January to July we had Family HDHP coverage and contributed to our HSA during that time. From August 1st to December 31st we had a different plan that was not HDHP. We contributed $4025 from Jan to July. According to my calculations we had an excess contribution of $88 (unless I’m wrong). Because it’s a small amount would it be ok to just let it ride and pay the penalty? If so I am calculating the penalty to be about $9…10% of $88…is this correct? I know the penalty is 6% but when I looked at Form 8889 line 21, it says to multiply by 10%…

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Hi Andrea, I am not qualified to tell you how much your tax penalty would be, but yes it would surely be a very small amount.

  61. AD says:

    Hi Wiley,
    Hoping you can help answer a question. I’ve asked my bank about this, but they say it’s not possible. I made $1350 in excess post-tax HSA contributions for 2017 (I got married in late 2017 and did not think about my husband’s HSA). The $1350 was mostly spent in 2017 on medical expenses, so this money is no longer in the account. Besides having my husband take out $1350 from his HSA, is there a way to have my bank reclassify transactions so I don’t have to report excess contributions? TIA!

    1. Wiley Long says:

      No, I do not believe that would be possible.

  62. Meg says:

    Hi. On our tax software it says you can report excess contributions as income. We are doing that. That should be enough – correct? Looks like the software calculates what we owe for taxes based on that being untaxed income. Sound right?

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Yes, I would think so. The IRS will assess your over contribution penalty a “apply to your tax bill” if not reconciled on your return.

  63. Geoffrie Kramer says:

    Hi there, my wife and I had combined HSA contributions totally $7,250 last year ($500 over) because we forgot her employer contributes $500. I have already moved $500 of my 2017 contribution to my 2018 contribution. What should I report on Form 8889 – the old higher amount or the new lower amount? The higher amount is shown on my 5498-SA, but my HSA administrator has said that a corrected 5498-SA will be issued in May. I just want to make sure this won’t be an issue with getting our return processed correctly and without delays.

    1. admin says:

      I recommend contacting your CPA to be sure.

  64. maggie says:

    I have a question

  65. SA Walker says:

    I am confused as to why Turbotax is telling me I over contributed to my HSA account [is saying $18 excess and a penalty of $78]. For the month of January, I was covered under my husband’s HDHP. From February thru June, we each covered ourselves under a HDHP. From June thru December, my husband covered both of us under a new plan however this was used as my secondary insurance. He contributed $260 to his HDHP from earlier in the year while I contributed $1000 for a total of $1260 for both of us. Why are we being penalized when between the two of us we did not even contribute the $3400 maximum for self?

    1. Wiley Long says:

      I would contact a CPA. From what you’ve described you should not be subject to over-contribution penalties.

  66. Hari Murthy says:

    Wiley, I just discovered that I made excess contribution ($308.21) in 2012 and did not correct it . How do I go about doing that.

    1. Wiley Long says:

      Hi Hari, contact the bank where your HSA is held and withdraw that excess contribution. They will have a form to indicate the purpose of the withdrawal. The IRS will unfortunately impose a 6% penalty for each year that has passed before you withdraw that excess contribution.

      1. Hari Murthy says:

        How do I report to IRS and pay the penalty. Do i file with the 2017 tax ? which form to use? Can I file it seperately/alone ?

  67. Patricia Ward says:

    Hi Wiley,

    Sorry for repeating this again as I just posted to one of your “older” blogs. Hopefully, you will see this current blog and thanks in advance for any suggestions:

    Husband turned 65 5/1/15 and has an HSA we have never withdrawn from.

    His Company in Jan 2015 deposited their portion of $500 for the total year.

    He retired May 2015 but company didn’t withdrawal the 7 months $316 over deposit. When filing our 2015 taxes we got hit $19 penalty – no big deal.

    When filing our 2016 taxes another $19 penalty – got our attention. Was told in order to prevent $19 penalty in all future years to submit an excess contribution & deposit correction request thru HSA – we did. This generated a check dated 3/24/17 for $342.57 and a 2017 Form 1099-SA ($316 Gross Distribution + $26.57 Earnings on Excess Contribution, Coded 2 =Excess Contribution).

    When filing our 2017 taxes we’ve entered the 2017 Form 1099-SA information and again got hit with another “expected” and hopefully final $19 penalty. However, we also expected to get hit with a 20% penalty for the unqualified $316 deposit and do not see that on Form 8889 (Additional 20% tax) line 17b? Instead we see the $316 listed on same Form 8889 line 14b as (rolled over to another HSA) which we didn’t do?

    I’ve contacted IRS (useless), our HSA – advised us to get tax help (more useless), and was wondering if you could provide any guidance. TurboTax – (very helpful) thought the non 20% penalty was due to him turning 65 prior to the 2015 tax year ending. That sounds ok but why is the $316 listed on Form 8889 line 14b as (rolled over to another HSA) which we didn’t do?

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  68. disqus_mE5TWatscH says:

    Hello – I cannot find any guidance on my HSA over contribution issue. I had 2 old hsa’s in 2017, with total 56.00 overcontribution total. I have a new 2018 employer hsa – can the new one process the excess contribution if I check off “apply excess contr to my current year’s contribution”? I also thought of reopening the first 2017 hsa, who said they would be willing the process refund for free (the 2nd 2017 one wants 35.00 to process the check). I have 60.00 rollover check from the 2nd 2017 HSA that I was going to forward to the new 2018 one. Maybe I could reopen the first, and have them process the overcontribution? Thanks in advance.

    1. Wiley Long says:


      I do not believe your current bank could process the excess contribution that was contributed to a different bank. If you can have the original bank process that refund, that is what I would recommend.

  69. Jaime says:

    This is lengthy so bear with me. My son started a new job 9/2017. He was offered full benefits from day one, including an HSA. The employer would not allow him to get benefits until he was off my husband’s plan. We took him off and they allowed him to apply. He put $75 during the last 3 months. However, while I was working on his taxes, it became abundantly clear that he should not have been able to open an HSA because he was still considered a dependent for 2017 (he was a full time college student until 5/2017). So, we contacted his HR department who then referred him back to the HSA administrator. The administrator ultimately decided to “refund” him his $75. However, on his w2, on line ?12?, it lists the $75. Because we claim him as a dependent, he cannot proceed because of this glitch. Now, I’ve done a lot of reading the past 2 weeks, and here’s what I think is correct. The administrator should have processed this refund as an excess contribution, or a mistaken contribution. He got his money back prior to 2018 tax filing deadline, and therefore that $75 is considered income for 2017. However, they are refusing to give him a 1099sa, because they said since he was refunded the money, it was like the HSA didn’t exist ,but on his w2, it does exist, so we keep going round and round. I looked at a 1099sa template, and from what I see, on box 3, there is an option for excess contribution. Where can I find iron clad information through the IRS that what the administrator did was indeed a refund of an excess contribution (texhnically a mistaken contribution) and he is entitled to receive a 1099sa?

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