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House Passes Tax Bill With HSA Expense Provision

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Members of the U.S. House of Representatives today voted 238-179 to pass H.R. 5719, a tax package that could set expense substantiation requirements for health savings account trustees.

The HSA section of the bill, which would create the Taxpayer Assistance and Simplification Act of 2008, would require HSA users to substantiate expenditures in a manner similar to the methods now used to substantiate flexible spending arrangement expenditures.

The trustee of a HSA would have to give the federal government and the account beneficiary a report identifying the beneficiary and describing any amounts paid or distributed without proper substantiation, according to the bill text.

The provision would take effect for amounts paid out after Dec. 31, 2010, according to the bill text.

The current version of H.R. 5719 was introduced last week by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Evolution Benefits Inc., Avon, Conn., a company that runs a benefit payment card system and health account payment substantiation systems, has put out a statement opposing the provision.

“It is premature to require FSA-like substantiation for HSAs,” Evolution says.

A better approach would be to require that HSA administrators simply report to the taxpayer and to the Internal Revenue Service on the amount of unsubstantiated contributions, to help them to manage the HSA program properly, Evolution says.

Current program rules do not seem to permit use of systems that would keep HSA holders from spending HSA funds on nonqualified purchases at the point of sale, Evolution says.