It’s February, and we all know what that means. Time to start breaking out the calculator and working through the pound of taxed flesh which will be due to the federal government. And since many small businesses have been counting on the small business health insurance tax credits to help them through the economic recovery, we thought we’d put together a short “cheat-sheet” review for those of you with small businesses who are starting to work through tax season.
Under healthcare reform, a small business may claim a federal tax credit worth up to 35 percent of what the business spends on health insurance for its employees. To qualify for the tax credits under healthcare reform, a small business must have fewer than 25 full-time employees, have average annual wages of $50,000 or less, and cover at least 50 percent of the cost of healthcare for its employees. The tax credits are calculated on a sliding scale, with the full 35 percent credit going to small businesses with 10 or fewer full-time employees and average annual salaries of $25,000 or less.
Some things to note:
What’s a Full-Time Employee? This should be a simple question, but it’s not. In figuring out how many full-time employees you have, you need to figure out your full-time equivalents (FTEs) which depends on the number of hours, days or weeks worked by all of your employees during the year. The number to keep in mind is 2,080 hours which counts as one FTE. Any combination of employees working an equivalent of 2,080 hours during the year is one FTE. For example, four employees each working 20 hours a week for six months of the year, you count the four as one FTE (four employees times 20 hours times 26 weeks equals 2,080 hours).
Wages. In figuring out your average wages, remember that wages include all wages earned by your employees during the tax year, including vacation, sick days, bonus and commissions. To reach your average, take those total wages and divide by your number of FTEs (not your total number of employees). Don’t forget, you get to round down to the nearest $1,000.
Family Members. Family members of a business owner or a business owner’s partner cannot be counted in the calculation of tax credits. More importantly, a family member’s hours, wages and health insurance premiums cannot be counted in the tax credit calculation, so a small business that mainly employs family members will likely only receive a small fraction of the tax credits it would receive if it employed mainly non-family members.
Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credit Worksheet. Believe if or not, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is actually trying to help small businesses plan out how much they may be eligible for in health insurance tax credits on their website, though. The IRS has provided small business with a nifty worksheet to help calculate their tax credits on their website, and we think it’s worth taking a look at if you’re planning to use the tax credits this year:
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