More U.S. taxpayers reported using health savings accounts (HSAs) in 2008 than in 2007, and the average HSA deduction also increased.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released 2008 individual income tax return data.

A comparison with the 2007 individual income tax return data shows that the number of individual taxpayers who reported HSA deductions increased 41% in 2008, to 835,619, and that the average contribution increased 4.4%, to about $2,210.

Possibly because of the effects of job loss and steep drops in income, the income categories showing the fastest growth in HSA use were the categories for taxpayers with no adjusted gross income (AGI) and for taxpayers with $1 to $5,000 in AGI.

The number of taxpayers with no AGI who contributed to an HSA increased to about 19,000 in 2008, from about 7,000 the before, and the number of taxpayers with $1 to $5,000 in AGI who made HSA contributions increased to about 4,800, from about 1,300.

The number of HSA contributions also increased at rates of 25% or more for all income categories from the $20,000 to under $25,000 category up to the $200,000 to under $500,000 categories.

About 680 taxpayers with incomes over $5 million took care to contribute to HSAs.

The amount of contributions flowing into HSAs was about 19% of the size of the flow of payments into individual retirement accounts (IRAs) in 2008; in

The HSA contribution total was equal to about 19% of the individual retirement account (IRA) total in 2008; in 2007, the HSA contribution flow was about 12% of the size of the IRA payment flow.