If you are a small employer, you might be eligible for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, which can make a difference for your business. A small employer is eligible for the credit if (a) it has fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees, (b) the average annual wages of its employees are less than $50,000 (adjusted for inflation beginning in 2014), and (c) it pays a uniform percentage for all employees that is equal to at least 50% of the premium cost of employee-only insurance coverage. This can be a great health care tax credit.
To be eligible for the small business health care credit, you must:
- have purchased coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program – also known as the SHOP marketplace
- have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees
- pay an average wage of less than $50,000 a year
- pay at least half of employee health insurance premiums
For tax years beginning in 2014, information on business health care credit:
- The maximum credit increases to 50 percent of premiums paid for small business employers and 35 percent of premiums paid for small tax-exempt employers.
- To be eligible for the credit, you must pay premiums on behalf of employees enrolled in a qualified health plan offered through a Small Business Health Options Program Marketplace or qualify for an exception to this requirement.
- The credit is available to eligible employers for two consecutive taxable years.
Even if you are a small business employer who did not owe tax during the year, you can carry the credit back or forward to other tax years. Also, since the amount of the health insurance premium payments is more than the total credit, eligible small businesses can still claim a business expense deduction for the premiums in excess of the credit. That’s both a credit and a deduction for employee premium payments.
Small tax-exempt employers and ACA provisions
There is good news for small tax-exempt employers, too. The credit is refundable, so even if you have no taxable income, you may be eligible to receive the credit as a refund so long as it does not exceed your income tax withholding and Medicare tax liability. Refund payments issued to small tax-exempt employers claiming the refundable portion of credit are subject to sequestration.
Finally, you can benefit from the credit even if you forgot to claim it on your 2014 tax return; there’s still time to file an amended return. Generally, a claim for refund must be filed within three years from the time the return was filed or two years from the time the tax was paid, whichever of such periods expires later. For tax years 2010 through 2013, the maximum credit is 35 percent of premiums paid for small business employers and 25 percent of premiums paid for small tax-exempt employers such as charities.
Filing Form 8941
You must use Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums, to calculate the credit. For detailed information on filling out this form, see the instructions for Form 8941. If you are a small business, include the amount as part of the general business credit on your income tax return.
If you are a tax-exempt organization, include the amount on line 44f of the Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return. You must file the Form 990-T in order to claim the credit, even if you don’t ordinarily do so. The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit Estimator can help you determine if you might be eligible for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit and how much credit you might receive. This tool provides you with an estimate for tax year 2014 and beyond. However, some figures used in determining the credit are indexed for inflation. Because of this, for future years, the estimator cannot provide a detailed estimate.
Find out how ACA affects Employers with fewer than 50 Employees
Most employers have fewer than 50 full-time employees or full-time equivalent employees and are therefore not subject to the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared responsibility provision.
If an employer has fewer than 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, on average during the prior year, the employer is not an ALE for the current calendar year. Therefore, the employer is not subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions or the employer information reporting provisions for the current year. Employers with 50 or fewer employees can purchase health insurance coverage for its employees through the Small Business Health Options Program – better known as the SHOP Marketplace.
Calculating Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
Calculating the number of employees is especially important for employers that have close to 50 employees or whose workforce fluctuates throughout the year. To determine its workforce size for a year an employer adds its total number of full-time employees for each month of the prior calendar year to the total number of full-time equivalent employees for each calendar month of the prior calendar year, and divides that total number by 12.
Employers that have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees
Employers that have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees with average annual wages of less than $50,000 may be eligible for the small business health care tax credit if they cover at least 50 percent of their full-time employees’ premium costs and generally, after 2013, if they purchase coverage through the SHOP.
All employers, regardless of size, that provide self-insured health coverage must file an annual information return reporting certain information for individuals they cover. The first returns are due to be filed in 2016 for coverage provided during 2015.