Dependent care FSA forfeited money

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Hi
Trying to see if there is anything that I can do to recover all or some of my lost $5000 dependent day care funds which are sitting out there but can't be reimbursed since
1. my claim form which I faxed the agency before the 3/31 deadline was somehow not received by them (I had faxed them but don't have a receipt or anything to show it, the agent said it would take 2/4 days to reflect in the system which did it and that prompted me to call them)
2. which prompted me to resend them the form again through fax and email 12-14 days later
3. which now they say it's after the deadline

$5000 - really a big amount and have no idea what to do now.

Any help would be really really appreciated.

Thanks
MS

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If only there was a way to provide a third party with electronic "proof" that can't be verified.....

vipercon (Apr. 14, 2017 @ 5:36p) |

Get with your IT department. Our fax has a memory and once a day spits out a list of faxes sent/received with phone numb... (more)

saladdin (Apr. 16, 2017 @ 5:16p) |

Mind boggling that someone would wait 4 days before the deadline for the entire $5k claim. Expensive lesson in procrasti... (more)

rascott (Apr. 17, 2017 @ 9:40a) |

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Chat with your HR rep and see if they can push the benefits administrator into action.

No fax receipt on something that important? Why not?

Take it as a $5000 lesson to file early next year.

This is for 2016 contribution correct. 3/31/17 deadline includes the "grace period" for a few months into 2017 where you can incur and get reimbursed from 2016 contribution. Did you not submit bills as and when they were incurred in 2016? Was the submission (that they claim to be after the deadline) for the entire contribution amount?

Unfortunately, there is a good chance you maybe SOL. If you emailed the form, you should have a time-stamp. SHort of a documentary proof of your timely submission (fax or email receipt with time stamp), I am afraid there is not much you can do.

HR already said they can't do anything here. Unfortunately, I don't have a fax confirmation page or anything of that sorts which I should have obtained. 

5000dollarlost said:   HR already said they can't do anything here. Unfortunately, I don't have a fax confirmation page or anything of that sorts which I should have obtained. 
  How exactly did you fax it?  Every fax machine built in the last 20 years should have some sort of log.

Yes this is for the 2016 contribution. I did not file any claims for the entire year as I wanted to file one claim all together. So this claim was for the entire pool of $5K. 
And unfortunately I don't have any documentation proof to show the fax history. 

Is there anything in the tax that I can do to recover?

supersnoop00 said:   
5000dollarlost said:   HR already said they can't do anything here. Unfortunately, I don't have a fax confirmation page or anything of that sorts which I should have obtained. 
  How exactly did you fax it?  Every fax machine built in the last 20 years should have some sort of log.

  
First time used an external fax machine outside. Second time used the work fax machine. I can probably get the log for the 2nd submission since it's a work machine but that was after the deadline. The first submission that I did before the deadline was from an outside machine which I don't even have hope I can get any confirmation papers or logs.

Anything on the tax side that I can do?

I still can't believe that fax is still a thing in 2017.

Might want to mention to the benefits company you will subpoena their phone records, their fax device history and the call in that you made (should have been recorded) instructing you to wait 2-4 days for service in the lawsuit you are preparing and see what they say from there.   

DamnoIT said:   Might want to mention to the benefits company you will subpoena their phone records, their fax device history and the call in that you made (should have been recorded) instructing you to wait 2-4 days for service in the lawsuit you are preparing and see what they say from there.   
  They will say, go for it. They have nothing to lose. They don't stand to profit if they don't pay out the funds. 

Try to sort it out ... If you don't, you will now owe federal income tax on that $5000.

eurekaa said:   Try to sort it out ... If you don't, you will now owe federal income tax on that $5000.
  No, that is incorrect.

tennis8363 said:   
eurekaa said:   Try to sort it out ... If you don't, you will now owe federal income tax on that $5000.
  No, that is incorrect.

  
Care to explain? Most tax software add the "unused" amounts back on the wages line and enter "DCB" on that line. Is there a way to distinguish between unused funds and funds we just forgot to submit receipts for?
 

eurekaa said:     Care to explain? Most tax software add the "unused" amounts back on the wages line and enter "DCB" on that line. Is there a way to distinguish between unused funds and funds we just forgot to submit receipts for?
 

  OP can claim a deduction for his childcare expenses (that were not reimbursed by FSA), assuming he otherwise qualifies for the deduction.

So quick update - as of now, the company that holds my $5K funds said they can't do anything unless I send them a fax confirmation sheet proof showing that I had faxed it to their fax number. Without that they can't do anything to reimburse and I would just have to forfeit my $5K.
Also tax wise, I reviewed and on Form 2441 Line 14 it asks you to indicate the forfeited amount, but that eventually does not trickle into any changes on the overall tax numbers.

eurekaa said:   
tennis8363 said:   
eurekaa said:   Try to sort it out ... If you don't, you will now owe federal income tax on that $5000.
  No, that is incorrect.

  
Care to explain? Most tax software add the "unused" amounts back on the wages line and enter "DCB" on that line. Is there a way to distinguish between unused funds and funds we just forgot to submit receipts for?

  Improper use of funds creates additional tax, not forfeiture. 

5000dollarlost said:    First time used an external fax machine outside. Second time used the work fax machine. I can probably get the log for the 2nd submission since it's a work machine but that was after the deadline. The first submission that I did before the deadline was from an outside machine which I don't even have hope I can get any confirmation papers or logs.
 
5000dollarlost said:   So quick update - as of now, the company that holds my $5K funds said they can't do anything unless I send them a fax confirmation sheet proof from 3/27 showing that I had faxed it to their fax number. Without that they can't do anything to reimburse and I would just have to forfeit my $5K.
  If it was a regular commercial fax machine (e.g., Fedex/kinkos/Staples type), I bet they have records/logs of faxes received and sent. It is a matter of talking to the manager or someone with authority and impressing upon them that this record is important. Having a cash register receipt of the fax would certainly help. Besides it would have the date/time so that the person can easily access the right log that contains your fax. With 5k at stake start with the store manager at a time when things are calm/non-busy at the store.

ETA: I am sorry this would sound as beating a dead horse. I am baffled that the first submission happened 4 days prior to the deadline where 5k is at stake when you had several months to turn in monthly bills for reimbursement.

Annnnnd it's gone!

I lost $1,800 once. Sucks for sure. The worst part is that the money goes back to your employer. The unclaimed funds go toward administering the FSA program.

tennis8363 said:   
DamnoIT said:   Might want to mention to the benefits company you will subpoena their phone records, their fax device history and the call in that you made (should have been recorded) instructing you to wait 2-4 days for service in the lawsuit you are preparing and see what they say from there.   
  They will say, go for it. They have nothing to lose. They don't stand to profit if they don't pay out the funds. 

  Under some plans, the TPA (Third-Party Administrator) keeps forfeited money from these plans.

Send a fax somewhere and make it print you a confirmation page. Take that confirmation page and do some photoshopping. Voila! Send them your confirmation page from 3/27. If that's all they want you to prove then it should be easy enough.

It's also used to offset the payments made to employees that claim the entire contribution amount and leave before their contributions catch up.

scoogie said:   Send a fax somewhere and make it print you a confirmation page. Take that confirmation page and do some photoshopping. Voila! Send them your confirmation page from 3/27. If that's all they want you to prove then it should be easy enough.

This. If you get audited you can support the legal use of the funds to the irs. It's ridiculous but you have to do anything you can to get the third party to give you the money you are legally due.

I have done the above with a health fsa where after 5 back and forths with customer service due to a clerical error they wouldn't give me my money. My company hr was no help and I didn't feel like it was worth jeopardizing a job relationship to fight with them.

You can only go up the chain and yell so much at these fsa administrators before they just refer you back to hr who may or may not be willing to help you. You can't stop using them unless you can convince your company to change providers, it really sucks.

I am going on 5 straight years now of denied claims for various reasons that have been my fault exactly 0 times. I'm pretty sure the claim csrs and processors are some of the dumbest people alive.

Good luck if this is with Ameriflex

zonacat said:   
scoogie said:   Send a fax somewhere and make it print you a confirmation page. Take that confirmation page and do some photoshopping. Voila! Send them your confirmation page from 3/27. If that's all they want you to prove then it should be easy enough.

This. If you get audited you can support the legal use of the funds to the irs. It's ridiculous but you have to do anything you can to get the third party to give you the money you are legally due.

I have done the above with a health fsa where after 5 back and forths with customer service due to a clerical error they wouldn't give me my money. My company hr was no help and I didn't feel like it was worth jeopardizing a job relationship to fight with them.

You can only go up the chain and yell so much at these fsa administrators before they just refer you back to hr who may or may not be willing to help you. You can't stop using them unless you can convince your company to change providers, it really sucks.

I am going on 5 straight years now of denied claims for various reasons that have been my fault exactly 0 times. I'm pretty sure the claim csrs and processors are some of the dumbest people alive.

Good luck if this is with Ameriflex

  
I did not understand the audit part of the photoshopping suggestion. First the photoshopping - is it even possible?
Secondly, are you saying, you did the photoshopping thing and still had to go back and forth eventually had no luck getting back the money? 

It has nothing to do with being audited (Assuming you were reporting everything properly anyways). This is simply about you getting reimbursed what you are due. If you know you sent the fax on that date to them, then I would have no guilty conscience about doing whatever it takes to generate a fax confirmation printout.

So you faxed it but don't have the confirmation? Do you know they actually received it? Just because something was faxed doesn't mean it was received. About 10% of my faxes to external entities don't go through the first time.

Also, when you said an outside fax machine I just pictured this person walking down the street, seeing a fax machine on the sidewalk and punching in numbers then walking away..."I faxed it!"

susrivas said:   It's also used to offset the payments made to employees that claim the entire contribution amount and leave before their contributions catch up.
  False. Unlike a regular FSA, dependent care FSAs allow you to claim only the amount that's in your account.  

5000dollarlost said:   
  
I did not understand the audit part of the photoshopping suggestion. First the photoshopping - is it even possible?
Secondly, are you saying, you did the photoshopping thing and still had to go back and forth eventually had no luck getting back the money? 


Yes it's possible, all you have to do is give them what they want to get your money.

The company needs to have whatever documentation they want in case the irs comes to them to check their records.

I went back and forth with them over and over, ended up doing what I needed to do to fit their criteria due to their clerical mistake, and got my money.

If I am later audited, I have the correct and unaltered records to prove to the irs that my withdrawals were legal.

If you are audited, the irs is not going to want to see your fax confirmation, they just want the records that you spent the day money on what you were supposed to, your unaltered dependent care receipts.

Not sure why all the red, just trying to help the guy get his money he's legally entitled to. Search online for fsa administrator complaints, they are customer service black holes and you have no recourse against them besides getting in an argument with your employers hr.

zonacat said:   Not sure why all the red,

There's a segment of the population that cringe at the idea of doctoring things. I'm with you. You followed the rules, and because of someone else's mishandling of paperwork, you were expected to pay the price. You did nothing wrong other than to rely on someone else doing their job, and you got around it by doing something that many would perceive as "wrong," but the real wrong was that your fax wasn't processed when it was received.
  

tennis8363 said:   
DamnoIT said:   Might want to mention to the benefits company you will subpoena their phone records, their fax device history and the call in that you made (should have been recorded) instructing you to wait 2-4 days for service in the lawsuit you are preparing and see what they say from there.   
  They will say, go for it. They have nothing to lose. They don't stand to profit if they don't pay out the funds. 

Yea they do - the risk that a finder of fact would believe OP more than the corporation. That's not nothing. Might be worth a small claims suit.

marginoferror said:   So you faxed it but don't have the confirmation? Do you know they actually received it? Just because something was faxed doesn't mean it was received. About 10% of my faxes to external entities don't go through the first time.

Also, when you said an outside fax machine I just pictured this person walking down the street, seeing a fax machine on the sidewalk and punching in numbers then walking away..."I faxed it!"

  Outside fax machine: https://img.memesuper.com/752413d03adf14e321f12b9309c58ab8_offic...

5000dollarlost said:   HR already said they can't do anything here. Unfortunately, I don't have a fax confirmation page or anything of that sorts which I should have obtained. 
    Pretty sure most printers can have a fax history printed out.  I know our Xerox can.

EDIT: quoted before i read all the way down.

5000dollarlost said:   So quick update - as of now, the company that holds my $5K funds said they can't do anything unless I send them a fax confirmation sheet proof showing that I had faxed it to their fax number. Without that they can't do anything to reimburse and I would just have to forfeit my $5K.
Also tax wise, I reviewed and on Form 2441 Line 14 it asks you to indicate the forfeited amount, but that eventually does not trickle into any changes on the overall tax numbers.

  If only there was a way to provide a third party with electronic "proof" that can't be verified..... 

5000dollarlost said:   HR already said they can't do anything here. Unfortunately, I don't have a fax confirmation page or anything of that sorts which I should have obtained. 
  Get with your IT department. Our fax has a memory and once a day spits out a list of faxes sent/received with phone numbers and time.

Mind boggling that someone would wait 4 days before the deadline for the entire $5k claim. Expensive lesson in procrastination.

And then not even document its submission? A fax?

Our flex accounts are are online with scan/upload of receipts.



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