Small business tax credit.
The Patient Protection Act provides tax credits for small businesses and individuals designed to increase levels of health insurance coverage, as part of the IRC § 38 general business credit. Small businesses—defined as businesses with 25 or fewer employees and average annual wages of less than $50,000—are eligible for a credit of up to 50% of nonelective contributions the business makes on behalf of its employees for insurance premiums (new IRC § 45R). Tax-exempt organizations would get a 35% credit against payroll taxes.
Employers with 10 or fewer employees and average wages of less than $25,000 will get 100% of the credit; for other eligible employers, the credit will be reduced based on the number of employees over 10 and the excess of the employees’ average wages over $25,000. The $25,000 average annual wages figure will be indexed for inflation after 2013.
This credit is available for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2009, and is phased in from 2010 through 2013. During the phase-in years, the maximum credit is 35% of the employer’s eligible premium expense (25% for tax-exempt employers). The employer has to pay for at least 50% of the employees health care to qualify for the credit. Visit www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/3_simple_steps.pdf to determine if your business qualifies.
Employer responsibility under this new law.
Under new IRC § 4980H, an “applicable large employer” that does not offer coverage for all its full-time employees, offers minimum essential coverage that is unaffordable, or offers minimum essential coverage that consists of a plan under which the plan’s share of the total allowed cost of benefits is less than 60%, is required to pay a penalty if any full-time employee is certified to the employer as having purchased health insurance through a state exchange with respect to which a tax credit or cost-sharing reduction is allowed or paid to the employee.
An employer is an applicable large employer with respect to any calendar year if it employed an average of at least 50 full-time employees during the preceding calendar year.
The penalty for any month is an excise tax equal to the number of full-time employees over a 30-employee threshold during the applicable month (regardless of how many employees are receiving a premium tax credit or cost-sharing reduction) multiplied by $166.67 (one-twelfth of $2,000). For complete information on how health care reform will affect your small business, visit www.sba.gov/healthcarereform.
This provision is effective for months beginning after Dec. 31, 2013.