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Since I have an employer sponsored HSA for the first time in 2021, I have completed form 8889 to report the employer and pre-tax contributions (auto deducted from my paycheck) that I made throughout the year. I made no distributions and was eligible year-round.

Since all my contributions were pre-tax (cafeteria plan), and I made no distributions, the output values of form 8889 (lines 13, 17b, and 21) are all zeros.

The form 8889 instructions (line 13) say:

HSA deduction. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 12 here and on Schedule 1 (Form 1040), Part II, line 13

There are similar instructions on lines 17b and 21 that mention schedule 2.

I have no other reason to use these schedules, so they'll end up filled with zeros if I include them. This seems like a waste of paper, but I don't want to have my return rejected because the IRS expects to see Schedule 1 & 2 when receiving an 8889.

Should I include these schedules or will my return be accepted either way?

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    When in doubt - don't question. Just include them. And e-file, so that you don't waste any paper at all.
    – littleadv
    Mar 22 at 4:29

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In several previous years, I have filed 8889 without a Schedule 1 due to no adjustments to be made through Schedule 1 and never had any issues. I will also be doing that this year for 2021 taxes.

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