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On December 18, 2019, I set up an auto deposit, in the custodians site, of approximately $5000 into my HSA to occur on 12/31/19 for CURRENT YEAR contribution. Funds were taken from my checking account on 1/2/20 and hit the HSA account on 1/7/2020. When I do a search of the HSA site for my transactions, it shows as a 2019 transaction.
The custodian is counting it as a 2020 Contribution rather than 2019. As a result, I am unable to make the additional $6000 contribution I am eligible for in 2020.

On my 2019 income taxes, I used the transaction record from the Custodians website which showed the a total contribution of $8000. for 2019, however the 5498SA only shows contribution's of $2800 for 2019. I only discovered this when I was setting up my year end contribution for 2020 which would have been $6000, which I could not make as the custodians system would not allow me to as it said I had already reached my maximum for 2020.

I have provided all this evidence to the Custodian and they will not make the change. They are saying it is my error for not choosing the correct tax year. When I set up the transaction on 12/18, the only option would have been CURRENT YEAR as it was passed the deadline for the 2018 tax year, so PREVIOUS YEAR would not appear.
I am frustrated beyond words. Does anyone have an answer for me as to how I can get this corrected?

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  • Is there a specific reason why you selected December 31st as the transaction date? Why not do it "immediately" for 12/18? Or even better, December 1st? If you had caught this right back in pre-April 2020 they might have fixed it. You are probably too late now to get it changed.
    – Nosjack
    Mar 3 at 19:45
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    Note that it is generally a good idea to put the money in as early as possible (i.e., Jan/2), as all gains are already tax-free. That might not be possible for everyone, but intentionally waiting for Dec/31 seems to be throwing away money and asking for trouble; and ignoring it for a full year afterwards is not helping. My guess is that it is done and cannot be 'corrected' no matter if the custodian is willing - the IRS will not accept it anymore.
    – Aganju
    Mar 3 at 19:57
  • the money was not available to be contributed until 12/21. Lesson learned on scheduling last day of year, but being pre-scheduled, didn't think it would be an issue. Mar 3 at 21:05
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It seems you've reached out to the right person, the custodian of the plan is the right person. It is possible that they have a supervisor or maybe even a company ombudsman that my be sympathetic to your tale here.

However question is thusly: can you compel them to change that contribution year? Probably not, but it may be possible to enlist legal aid here. It would be up to you to decide how much it is worth to you to hire said legal expertise to remedy this. My opinion: it probably can't be worth it.

Yeah, HSA is triple-tax-advantaged, so there are savings there -- but if you took that same money and just put it into a regular brokerage account and let it grow -- the time in the market to grow is the single most important factor for that money to become something substantial. And at the end, sure, having a small % more because of the tax savings would be nice, but isn't the most important factor.

Therefore, I would chalk this up to a life lesson learned -- that asking for a transfer to occur on the last day of the year, when in the Western world almost everyone is out of the office and on holiday break, that transfer has a chance to not fire as timely as it could have -- and that next time you may want to schedule that transfer with enough time to allow for delays and imperfections in the process to be remedied and still achieve your needs.

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  • I think this is true. However, it is possible that by hassling the company and threatening legal action you could induce them to fix it. It's a matter of how much energy you want to invest.
    – BrenBarn
    Mar 11 at 8:56

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