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JBE, CPA, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Tax
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Experience:  25 Years Experience
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what does cafe 125 on my w2 form box 14 mean

Customer Question

On my W2 forms that I received from my employer in box 14 there is an amount of money with the wording CAFE 125. I know this has to do with the amount I paid for my health insurance but I am unsure what this CAFE 125 means.
Submitted: 12 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Tammy F. replied 12 years ago.

Cafe 125 refers to any cafeteria plans that you reap a benefit from.

See below for more info.

From the website:

Code section 125 makes it possible for employers to offer their employees a choice between cash salary and a variety of nontaxable benefits (qualified benefits).

A qualified benefit is a benefit that does not defer compensation and which is excludable from an employee’s gross income under a specific provision of the Code, without being subject to the principles of constructive receipt. Qualified benefits include health care, vision and dental care, group-term life insurance, disability, adoption assistance and certain other benefits. 

Employers may also offer flexible spending accounts to employees under a cafeteria plan that provides coverage under which specified, incurred expenses may be reimbursed. These include health flexible spending accounts for expenses not reimbursed under any other health plan and dependent care assistance programs. 

Employer contributions to the cafeteria plan are usually made pursuant to salary reduction agreements between the employer and the employee in which the employee agrees to contribute a portion of his or her salary on a pre-tax basis to pay for the qualified benefits. Salary reduction contributions are not actually or constructively received by the participant. Therefore, those contributions are not considered wages for federal income tax purposes. In addition, those sums generally are not subject to FICA and FUTA.

The above discussion provides only the most basic rules governing a cafeteria plan. For a complete understanding of the rules, see the proposed and final regulations under Code section 125.


Expert:  Sandi Hargrove, SkyHawks replied 12 years ago.
 This is the payment of your wages to pay for your health care benefits under a "Cafeteria Plan" which is made available under the IRS code section 125.  The wages are not subject to income tax.
Expert:  JBE, CPA replied 12 years ago.
It is informational only and not taxable. It is the portion of your compensation that was used to provide you with benefits on a pre-tax basis.