Tax Savings

Make the most of your savings every year by using pre-tax funds on eligible healthcare, dependent care, commuting and parking expenses through tax savings accounts.

The University provides several tax savings options, including healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (DCFSA), and the Transit/Parking Reimbursement Program (T/PRP). These accounts can help reduce your taxable income and are convenient ways to pay for out-of-pocket expenses.

Tax Savings

Important Reminder

  • All flexible spending account expenses must be incurred by December 31 each year.
  • All claims for the previous calendar year must be received by UHC, the FSA administrator, no later than March 31 of the following year.
  • A balance of up to $640* in your Healthcare FSA can be rolled over to the next year if you do not enroll in an HSA. However, any money left in your Dependent Care FSA will be forfeited.
  • To check your FSA balance or submit a claim, please visit or call United Healthcare for assistance at 800-232-9357.

Your Tax Savings Options

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

With a healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can set aside money from your paycheck before taxes to cover eligible healthcare expenses.

How does an FSA work?
With an FSA, you choose how much to contribute, and the money is deducted from your paycheck before taxes. You can access your funds at any time. Sign up for an FSA during Open Enrollment. You can choose the amount you'd like to set aside in CUBES.

What can I use my FSA funds on?
You can use your FSA dollars on a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) medications as well as eligible medical, vision and dental services and treatments. Learn more about using FSA funds.

How does it help me save on my taxes?
When you contribute to an FSA, you're setting aside pre-tax dollars. You don't have to pay federal income taxes on the money you put into your account. That means you may lower the amount of federal income tax you pay.

Plan how much to save:
You can carry over up to $640* from your Healthcare FSA, but you will need to use the rest by the end of the year. It's important to think about how much you spend on healthcare before deciding how much to contribute.

*IRS limits subject to change

Health Savings Account (HSA)

Are you enrolled in a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and want another way to save for your health?

Health Savings Account (HSA) is a great way to set aside money to use for qualified expenses while allowing you to grow your savings tax-free. Plus, you can use this money anytime — now or in the future. 

Here are a few advantages of having an HSA:

It offers triple tax benefits.
The money you contribute to your HSA is pre-tax or tax deductible. Your earnings grow income tax-free and you can make tax-free withdrawals at any time.

It can be used for a variety of health needs.
HSA funds can be used to pay for qualified expenses such as dental and vision care, prescription medications, certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications, chiropractic services, acupuncture and more.

You own your money.
Whether you change employers, switch health plans or retire, your money is yours to keep. Any money deposited into your HSA is available for you to spend on eligible expenses.

Learn more about HSA:

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA)

Do you have children or legal dependents who need care? If so, you may be eligible for a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA), which allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars towards the care for loved ones.

Who may be eligible for a DCFSA?
Columbia University employees who have dependent children under age 13, or have a dependent adult such as a spouse or live-in parent.

What does a DCFSA cover?
The money you contribute can be used to cover care for children such as day care, preschool, summer day camps or a nanny. It can also be used for adult dependent expenses such as an in-home caregiver.

Can funds be carried over?
There is typically no rollover with DCFSA funds, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Transit/Parking Reimbursement Program (T/PRP)

Looking to save on commuting costs? With the Transit/Parking Reimbursement Program (T/PRP), you can pay for eligible commuter expenses using pre-tax dollars deducted right from your paycheck.

Here’s how it works:
Funds can be used for commuting expenses on any public transit commuter system. You can change your contribution amounts anytime throughout the year in CUBES, with funds available at the beginning of the month. At the end of each month, any unused funds roll over. Sign up just for parking or transit or both. If you leave the University or become ineligible for benefits, you have 90 days to submit a reimbursement claim to EBPA for expenses incurred, up to the monthly maximum, prior to your ineligibility date.

Eligible expenses:
Some examples of ways to use your T/PRP funds for commuting to and from work include paying for parking at a train station or in a commercial location near work as well as rides for MTA buses and subways, NJ Transit/PATH, Long Island Railroad, Metro-North, Amtrak, van pooling and express buses.

Pay one of two ways:

  1. EBPA Benefits Card – Accepted at any vendor that sells commuter tickets or MetroCards and accepts Mastercard®.
  2. Mobile Pay – Add your EBPA card to your digital wallet to access your benefits anytime for secure and contactless payments, including with OMNY — no need for receipts or reimbursement.