Details Of Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credits

The healthcare reform law creates several tax credits meant to benefit small businesses. These are intended as incentives for companies to provide health coverage to their employees. Indeed, some employers are optimistic, and plan to use the savings for investment and raises for their employees.

Some companies are doubtful that the tax credits will help them. First off, the tax incentives are short-term: they will only last for six years. Employers tend to plan for longer periods of time with their employees, so the temporary subsidy may have little effect.

In addition, relatively few businesses will substantially benefit by being able to afford group health insurance they otherwise wouldn’t. There are several levels of the tax credit. The most generous level, which credits companies with 50% of the cost of coverage for their employees, is available to companies with 10 full-time employees or fewer. Part-time employees will be prorated based on the number of hours they work weekly. Their average annual wage must be under $25,000, which is barely enough to live on in many major metropolitan areas.

Slightly larger businesses will also see some benefits. Those with up to a $50,000 annual wage and 25 employees will receive a partial tax credit. Unfortunately, larger firms–who are by no means mega multinational corporations–will not receive any offsets for their tax bill at all!

For that reason, the National Federation of Independent Business Owners and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are skeptical that the tax credits will help their members provide affordable group health insurance to their workers. The latter group opposed the healthcare reform legislation when it was in Congress.

If a small business is eligible and pays at least half of their employees’ health insurance plan premiums, they can take advantage of the tax credit starting with next year’s tax return. It will be incorporated into the general business credit section.

(Image: Adam Foster under CC 3.0)