What is a Cafeteria Plan?

A cafeteria plan is an employee benefit plan that allows an employee to choose where he wants his money to be invested. Also sometimes known as or a business plan, it is called a cafeteria plan because it allows the employs to have certain budget to spend in line with the facilities available or that the company has options in.

The benefits can vary; different forms include cash, health insurance, adoption assistance, paid leave and other benefits. The employee gets to choose between different types of benefits and to create a mix and match sort of plan that can include cash and/or a qualified benefit plan.

Most cafeteria plans today are operated through a salary reduction agreement. This enables the plan to be able to include a tax saving opportunity that can be enjoyed by both employer and employee.

The cafeteria plan is easy to set up; all that is needed to start a formal cafeteria plan is a document summary and a plan description.

This starts by reviewing a company’s cafeteria plan policy and helps to outline the expenses that are eligible for reimbursements. For instance if an employee is considering child daycare to cater for their child while they are at work, they can work out or estimate the daily out of pocket expenses which would usually help to cover up the daycare expenses. These are then multiplied by the weekly charge and by the number of weeks the child is the system, inclusive of holidays and vacations.

It is important to note that all the deductibles are exhausted during the year. After this, include the respected annual expenditure you believe you will claim and divide the final figure by the number of disbursement intervals that the company has planned for it’s financial year. This final figure will be taken out of your paycheck every period.

As long as you are in an eligible year, you then get to send the eligible expenses you incurred. These are filled in against a reimbursement claim form, after which a copy is made and then it can be sent either by fax or mail to the cafeteria plan provider for reimbursements.

While the cafeteria plan reduces on income tax payments for employees and employers, it is not a benefit that you will find typically with every firm. This is because it is not a federally enforced requirement for employers. As a result, not all companies offer a cafeteria plan or have a cafeteria plan policy but it is suitable for a wide range of businesses; even small business enterprises are eligible for this kind of policy.

However, it does pay to have one, apart from the usual tax savings advantages it offers; a job prospect certainly appears more competitive when a cafeteria plan is an option.

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