Too Many Small Businesses Still Overlook Health-Care Tax Credits

John Arensmeyer

John Arensmeyer

Tax season is over, but our efforts to educate small business owners about tax credits in the new healthcare law are still going strong. While many small business owners took advantage of this important provision of the Affordable Care Act and claimed a credit on their 2010 taxes, others didn’t. Not because they weren’t eligible or didn’t think it was worth it, but because they didn’t know the credits exist.

If you’re one of these folks, not to worry. You can still claim the credit after your taxes have been submitted by filing a correction, or claim it if you filed an extension. The tax credits are available for businesses that cover at least 50 percent of their employees’ health insurance premiums and have fewer than 25 full-time employees with average annual wages below $50,000. Small Business Majority has a tax credit calculator on our website to help small businesses determine whether they qualify.

But the truth of the matter is that many small business owners won’t claim the credit at all this year because they still don’t realize it’s available. And before we know it, entrepreneurs will once again be plunking piles of receipts and reams of paperwork on their accountants’ desks in preparation for filing their 2011 taxes. That’s why Small Business Majority and our partners are working so hard to inform the small business community about this issue now.

Our staff is working with other small business and healthcare advocates in various states to educate entrepreneurs about the tax credits. In Maryland, we’ve teamed up with the Maryland Health Care for All! Coalition and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to spearhead a statewide campaign that encourages small businesses to take advantage of the tax credits. Last week at a press conference in Salisbury, local elected officials discussed how they’ll continue to make sure the state’s small business owners know about the credits. As Lt. Governor Anthony Brown said, “These tax credits are just one of the many ways healthcare reform will help Maryland businesses access more affordable coverage for their employees, and we are fully committed to ensuring small businesses have the information they need to maximize every advantage that the Affordable Care Act provides.”

We’ve also hosted a series of webinars on the credits, reached out to tax professionals so they can help their clients claim the credit, and members of our staff have spoken at numerous conferences on this topic.

Our Vice President for Policy and Strategy, Terry Gardiner, was also recently featured in a video by the nonpartisan Alliance for Health Reform, detailing the nuts and bolts of the tax credits. You can view it here.

They say knowledge is power, but in this case it’s free money. We don’t want any small business owner to miss out on these credits a second time. So we’ll continue beating this drum because saving some cash is always sweet music to an entrepreneur’s ears.

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