Small Business

What to know about partnerships, QSEHRA, and tax deductions 

by Amy

We strongly recommend partners of partnerships talk to their licensed tax professional or CPA.

If you are a partner and reimbursing your employees for their premiums with a QSEHRA (Small Business HRA), you’re probably wondering how you can achieve the same tax advantage as your employees now that tax time is upon us.

Am I eligible to participate in the small business HRA plan?

Can my family be reimbursed for premiums?

We get a lot of questions about this, and given the layers of policy and tax law that govern this subject, we thought we should break it down for you in plain English. The short answer is that your participation depends on how your company is set up.

If it's set up as a partnership, the reality is you can't participate in the small business HRA because you don't need it. You already have the benefit of being able to deduct medical expenses.

Good news, right?

There's a few rules and requirements that you need to know ahead of time.

Here’s what you need to know. 

Why partners don't need a QSEHRA

As a partner, you already have the benefit of being able to deduct premiums. Unlike your employees, there's no need or additional benefit from a small business HRA.

The reason for this lies in the way your company is set up.

Partnerships also are not subject to income tax. Partners are directly taxed, making them self-employed and not eligible for participation. The Loophole: if the partner’s spouse is a W-2 employee (and not a partner spouse) then the owner can participate in the HRA as a dependent of the spouse.  

In the eyes of the IRS, you are self-employed, even if you give yourself a W2.

It's important to note that your family can participate in QSEHRA. That means your spouse, parents, children, and grandchildren can receive small business HRA reimbursements, even if you can't.

Eligibility requirements for deducting insurance premiums (without a QSEHRA) 

Good news, partners! The IRS categorizes you as self employed, which means you are eligible to claim monthly premiums as tax deductions on your tax return. The self-employed health insurance deduction ensures that self-employed individuals like you get a break on their healthcare costs.

It’s available if you:

  • Are self-employed 
  • Have a net profit from your business
  • Are not able to receive health insurance coverage from a spouse or employer 

According to the IRS site:

You must be one of the following to qualify for the deduction:

  • A self-employed individual
  • A partner in a partnership (A partner with net earnings from self-employment reported on Schedule K-1 (Form 1065), Partner's Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc., box 14, code A.)
  • A shareholder owning more than 2 percent of the outstanding stock of an S corporation with wages from the corporation reported on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement.
The insurance plan must be established under your business.
For partners, the policy can be either in the name of the partnership or in the name of the partner. You can either pay the premiums yourself or your partnership can pay them and report the premium amounts on Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) as guaranteed payments to be included in your gross income. However, if the policy is in your name and you pay the premiums yourself, the partnership must reimburse you and report the premium amounts on Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) as guaranteed payments to be included in your gross income. Otherwise, the insurance plan will not be considered to be established under your business. 

In other words, if you are a partner and your insurance plan was established under your business, then you are eligible.

How much you can deduct depends on how much you make

Partners who meet all of these requirements can deduct what they pay for health insurance premiums, up until the limit of their net business income (after business expenses). 

For most everyone else, the IRS allows them to deduct qualified medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for 2017 and 2018. And starting next year, all taxpayers may only deduct the amount of the total unreimbursed allowable medical care expenses for the year that exceeds 10% of their adjusted gross income. 

It also means that if your net business profit for the year is lower than the total yearly cost of your health insurance premiums, then you can only deduct the amount equal to your business profit.

Where to pencil this in on your tax return 

The total amount spent on healthcare premiums goes on Form 1040, Line 29. There is no need to itemize it.

Remember: If you have purchased your plan through the Exchange and receive a subsidy on your monthly payments, you can only deduct the cost of your payment each month, not the original price of the plan.

Take Command Health is here to help

As you can see, the way a business is set up affects if the business owner and their dependents will qualify to participate in the HRA. Take Command Health has a team of experts ready to answer your questions regarding your HRA and health insurance options.  Our Small Business Platform and QSEHRA administration tool are designed to make tax time a breeze. 

Hungry for more? Take a dive into the QSEHRA requirements chapter in our handy new QSEHRA Guide! 

Contact our Small Business Experts! 

Picture of Amy

Hi, I'm Amy! I wrote this blog because I care about ideas (big and little) that can help fix our healthcare system. I used to work on projects for Kaiser Permanente and the Parkland Health & Hospital System so I've seen the system inside and out. It's so important that consumers keep up with industry shifts and changing health insurance regulations. I'm also Take Command Health's Content Editor and a busy mom. Learn more about me and connect with me on our about us page. Thanks!