My employer contributes to my HSA each month (this is not taken from my income, it's an additional benefit, part of which health insurance option you choose). The total of these contributions are a bit less than the annual maximum contribution. I also choose to have a small amount withdrawn from my paycheck by my employer each month and contribute that in addition, to max out the contribution amount.

It is my understanding from reading the W-2 instructions and Form 8889 instructions that these contributions are both considered "employer contributions" and should be listed on my W-2 Box 12 with code W. By the way, boxes 1, 3, & 5 do not include these amounts.

This entry is missing on my W-2. Payroll say that it is their understanding it is optional for them to report it that way. Is this correct? This seems strange to me as there would be no way to trace where that money came from.

2017 tax season update: surprise, surprise, on this year's W2, they filled the employer contributions in correctly.

  • Are the contributions actual employer contributions, or are they premium pass-through contributions? If the former, it seems pretty clear from the W-2 instructions that they would be included in Box 12 with Code W. If the latter, it's less clear.
    – Guest5
    Feb 9, 2017 at 21:59
  • 1
    The contributions are actual contributions, not premium pass through. The amount you get depends on whether you choose the "high deductible" or "slightly higher deductible" plan. I never saw premium pass through mentioned anywhere.
    – Najel
    Feb 10, 2017 at 3:05

2 Answers 2


Well, as you say, the instructions for form W-2 (for your employer to fill out) say

You must report all employer contributions (including an employee's contributions through a cafeteria plan) to an HSA in box 12 of Form W-2 with code W. Employer contributions to an HSA that are not excludable from the income of the employee also must be reported in boxes 1, 3, and 5.

However, while it's your employer's job to fill out W-2 correctly, it's only your job to file your taxes correctly. Especially as you say your box 1/3/5 income is correct, this isn't too hard to do. You should file Form 8889 with your return and report the contributions on Line 9 as Employer Contributions. (And as you say, both what the employer contributed outright and what you had deducted from your pay are both Employer Contributions.) Be sure to keep your final pay stub for the year (or other documentation) showing that your employer did contribute that amount, just in case the IRS does end up questioning it for some reason.

If you really want to, you could try calling the IRS and letting them know that you have contributions that weren't reported on your W-2 to see if they want to follow up with your employer about correcting their documentation, if your efforts have been fruitless. There's even a FAQ page on the IRS site about how to contact them when your employer isn't giving you a correct W-2 and how to fill out a Form 4852 instead of using the W-2, which I'd recommend if the amount of income listed was wrong or if there were some other more "major" problem with the form. Most likely, though, since it's not going to affect the amount of tax anybody will pay, it's not going to be at the top of their list. I would worry more filling out the forms you need to fill out correctly rather than worrying about the forms your employer isn't filling out correctly.


Even if your employer decides not to include the HSA contributions in Box 12, the IRS will still be informed how much went into your HSA when the form 5498-SA gets filed. So you don't need to worry about the IRS; they'll get the information they want.

As for you, if you already know how much the "employer contributions" (both what the employer contributed and what you contributed through payroll deduction) were, and you know how much you contributed directly, then once you get your form 1099-SA you'll have all the information you need to complete your tax return.

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    "they can make up their own codes or choose to leave it blank" - Do you have anything to document this? Are you sure you're not thinking of box 14?
    – Najel
    Feb 10, 2017 at 21:53
  • @Najel You are right, of course. I was thinking of Box 14. I'm editing my answer.
    – Ben Miller
    Feb 11, 2017 at 4:36

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