How to Cancel Voluntary Pre-Tax Deductions

By: D. Laverne O'Neal

One of the best things about working for a larger organization is the range of benefits that may not be available at smaller companies. Voluntary pretax deductions are an example. They may include dependent care and health care flexible spending accounts and even transportation subsidies. However, if you decide or discover you no longer need a voluntary pretax deduction, you may not be able to cancel it right away.

Status Change

Step 1

Find out whether you qualify to make an immediate change. If your marital status or number of children changes, or if someone in your family loses a job or health insurance, your status is considered to have been altered.

Step 2

Get the enrollment change paperwork from your human resources department. The paperwork requires your name, as well as possibly your employee and Social Security numbers, and provides line items to opt in or out of the voluntary pretax deductions.

Step 3

Fill out the form, sign it and submit it within 60 days of your status change. The cancellation will typically be effective the first day of the following month.

No Status Change

Step 1

Find out when your company's yearly enrollment period rolls around. In many companies, the enrollment period is sometime during the last quarter of the calendar year. It is a time not only to make changes to your voluntary pretax deductions but also to make changes to your health, dental and vision coverage. Typically, the enrollment period is trumpeted in signage, emails, intranet and more.

Step 2

Get an enrollment change form the human resources department. Provide your name and employee number and cancel the deductions, typically by checking the appropriate line item boxes.

Step 3

Submit the form by the end of the enrollment period. This is typically two to four weeks after the start of the enrollment period. The cancellation will be effective as of Jan. 1 of the following year.


  • Enrollment change forms may be available on your company intranet to complete and submit electronically.
  • Status change events include marriage, divorce, adoption, birth, spouse's death and more. Your human resources department can provide the complete list of events that prompt a change in your status.


  • Once you cancel your voluntary pretax deductions, you cannot reinstate them until you undergo another status change or until the next enrollment period, whichever comes first.


About the Author

D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.

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