How to Take Advantage of the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
by Meredith K. Olafson, Community Moderator
- Created: March 5, 2013, 12:19 pm
- Updated: March 5, 2013, 12:19 pm
As the tax filing deadline approaches, we know that many small business owners are looking for ways to save money as they prepare to file their tax returns. Although the Affordable Care Act does not require that businesses provide health insurance, it does offer tax credits for eligible small businesses that choose to provide insurance to their employees for the first time, or maintain the coverage they already have.
Does My Business Qualify for the Health Care Tax Credit?
Through 2013, to qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35% (up to 25% for non-profits) of your premium contributions, you must have all of these criteria:
- Fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees
- Pay average annual wages below $50,000
- Contribute 50% or more toward your employees’ self-only health insurance premiums
Beginning in 2014, this tax credit increases to 50% (35% for non-profits) and will be available to small businesses who meet the criteria listed above and who purchase coverage through the new Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplaces (also known as Exchanges). This enhanced credit can be claimed for any two consecutive taxable years beginning in 2014 (or beginning in a later year) through the SHOP.
If you need assistance determining whether your small business or tax exempt organization qualifies for the credit, the IRS offers a helpful step-by-step guide.
Who Will the Small Business Tax Credit Help Most?
While any business meeting the above standards may be eligible to receive a tax credit of up to 35% (25% for non-profits), the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit works on a sliding scale and is specifically targeted for those businesses with low- and moderate-income workers.
For this reason, to qualify for the maximum small business tax credit, you must contribute at least 50% toward your employees’ self-only premium costs and meet the following two standards:
- 10 or fewer full-time employees
- Annual average wages at or below $25,000
How Do I Claim the Tax Credit?
Once you’ve determined that you qualify for the credit, your tax professional and the IRS can help guide you through the necessary steps to claim the credit which include:
- Check with your tax professional; even if you are a small business employer who did not owe tax during the year, you may be able to carry the credit back or forward to other tax years. And if you are a tax-exempt employer, you may be eligible for a refundable credit.
- Use Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums, to calculate the credit. It’s also important to know that eligible small employers can still claim a business expense deduction for the remainder of their premium contributions.
- This is a federal tax credit. Check to see if your state has additional health care tax credits available to small employers.
About the Author
Meredith K. Olafson is Senior Policy Advisor for the U.S. Small Business Administration where she oversees the agency's education and outreach efforts around health care and the Affordable Care Act.
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About This Blog
This blog is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal or tax advice. Readers should consult their legal or tax professionals to discuss how these matters relate to their individual business circumstances.
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