Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2010: Will Your Small Business Claim the Health Care Tax Credit?

The Internal Revenue Service this week started mailing out postcards to small businesses and tax-exempt organizations to raise awareness of benefits that were enacted with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last month.

The IRS mailed approximately 54,000 postcards throughout Connecticut. More information about state-by-state distribution of the postcard may be viewed here.

The health care tax credit passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama is one of the first health care reform provisions to take effect and is designed to make it more affordable for small businesses and nonprofits to maintain existing coverage or begin offering coverage to their employees.

“We want to make sure small employers across the nation realize that, effective this tax year, they may be eligible for a valuable new tax credit. Our postcard mailing – which is targeted at small employers – is intended to get the attention of small employers and encourage them to find out more," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a statement Tuesday. “We urge every small employer to take advantage of this credit if they qualify.”

Eligible small businesses will be able to claim the credit as part of the general business credit starting with the 2010 income tax return filed in 2011. For tax-exempt organizations, the IRS will provide further information on how to claim the credit. Click here for an online guide.

In general, the credit is available to small employers that pay at least half the cost of single coverage for their employees in 2010. For tax years 2010 to 2013, the maximum credit is 35 percent of premiums paid by eligible small business employers and 25 percent of premiums paid by eligible employers that are tax-exempt organizations, the IRS said.

The maximum credit goes to smaller employers – those with 10 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees – paying annual average wages of $25,000 or less. Because the eligibility rules are based in part on the number of FTEs, not the number of employees, businesses that use part-time help may qualify even if they employ more than 25 individuals.

The credit is completely phased out for employers that have 25 FTEs or more or that pay average wages of $50,000 per year or more.

Please comment below on whether your business offers health coverage and you plan to claim the credit or if you are unable to offer health insurance to your staff and the credit will not help. We want to hear from you...

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