Claiming the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

Bosma LogoIf you’re a small business owner with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees you may be eligible for the small business health care credit.

What is the Small Business Health Care Credit?

The small business health care tax credit, part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted in 2010, is specifically targeted to help small businesses and tax-exempt organizations provide health insurance for their employees. Small employers that pay at least half of the premiums for employee health insurance coverage under a qualifying arrangement may be eligible for this credit. Household employers not engaged in a trade or business also qualify.

How Does the Credit Save Me Money?

For tax years 2010 through 2013, the maximum credit is 35 percent for small business employers and 25 percent for small tax-exempt employers such as charities. An enhanced version of the credit will be effective beginning Jan. 1, 2014 and the rate will increase to 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

Note: The sequester, which took effect on March 1, 2013 includes a reduction to the refundable portion of the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for certain small tax-exempt employers. As such, the refundable portion of the claim will be reduced by 8.7 percent. Without congressional intervention, this rate remains in effect until the end of fiscal year 2013 (September 30).

The amount of the credit you receive works on a sliding scale, so the smaller the business or charity, the bigger the credit. Simply put, if you have more than 10 FTEs or if the average wage is more than $25,000, the amount of the credit you receive will be less.

If you pay $50,000 a year toward workers’ health care premiums–and you qualify for a 15 percent credit–you’ll save $7,500. If you save $7,500 a year from tax year 2010 through 2013, that’s a total savings of $30,000. And, if in 2014 you qualify for a slightly larger credit, say 20 percent, your savings go from $7,500 a year to $12,000 a year.

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