I read the following on opm.gov:

Your own HSA contributions are tax–deductible. Your own HSA contributions are either tax–deductible or pre–tax (if made by payroll deduction).

I'm confused by this sentence for two reasons:

  1. It says that my own HSA contributions are tax-deductible (twice, in two sentences), is that a typo? or is there a difference in meaning between the first and second sentence?

  2. What's the difference between:

    • Tax-deductible contributions
    • and pre-tax contributions?

2 Answers 2


Someone definitely did a bad job writing whatever you're reading.

Both you and your employer may contribute to an HSA. Note that you still have a limit on the amount that may be contributed, which both types of contribution count towards.

Contributions that you make, regardless of type (payroll vs manual contribution) are ALWAYS deductible.

Contributions made by your employer (their money, not payroll deductions) are NEVER deductible (by you).


If you make a contribution via payroll deduction the payment is treated as income you never earned. That means you will pay less in federal taxes, state taxes, social security and medicare. It is a pre-tax contribution.

If you make the transfer from your bank account then it will be a tax deduction the next April. It will save you money on your federal taxes, and your state taxes. But it wont save you money on your social security or medicare taxes. It is a tax deduction

  • This is what they mean, but I don't know if it's accepted nomenclature. After all, pre-tax 401(k) contributions are still subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes.
    – Craig W
    Sep 4, 2018 at 15:00

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