it seems like a HSA serves to clip a bit off the counted income undr PA's formulas for alimony and CS purposes
I'm not sure I agree.
I also have an HSA.
For the employEE contribution to the HSA he must first earn the money (gross income) and then contribute to an HSA, after which he gets the tax deduction. So that income would be counted when computing support obligations.
On the other hand, the employER contributions to the HSA don't make it to gross income in the first place so it wouldn't be counted in the computation of support obligations.
Unfortunately, it's clear to me that the court could impute earnings into the computation of support obligations so it's probably not a good idea to make a deal with the employer to have the employer contribute to the employee's HSA in lieu of salary.
Example: Employee gets a salary offer of $40,000. Employee has employer contribute $5000 in lieu of salary thus making the employee's gross reportable income $35,000. Ex spouse gets wind of that and the divorce court judge is likely to say, "No, no, no. You really make $40,000. We aren't falling for that gimmick."
There are two sections in the guidelines that appear to support my theory:
- (d) Reduced or Fluctuating Income.
- (1) Voluntary Reduction of Income. When either party voluntarily assumes a lower paying job, quits a job, leaves employment, changes occupations or changes employment status to pursue an education, or is fired for cause, there generally will be no effect on the support obligation.
- (4) Earning Capacity. If the trier of fact determines that a party to a support action has willfully failed to obtain or maintain appropriate employment, the trier of fact may impute to that party an income equal to the party’s earning capacity.
Ergo, the child support rules will trump any of the tax rules.