The IRS Wants to Help You Make Your Business More Accessible

This is a guest post by Erin Armstrong, who is an accountant and a licensed tax strategist.

Making your business more accessible to customers and employees with special needs isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar laws in most states.

Hiring American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and translators is one way companies can comply with these requirements. But many small business owners worry that doing so will significantly increase their business expenses.

Fortunately, the IRS understands this, and offers special tax incentives for small businesses to reduce the financial impact of enhancing accessibility.

First, you can deduct the costs of hiring ASL professionals as a business expense on your tax return, even if they’re provided on a contractual basis by an outside firm like Dovetail Communication Group.

And, if your company is a small business, you may qualify for an additional tax break:  the IRS Disabled Access Credit.

The Disabled Access Credit gives qualified small-business owners a tax credit of 50% of the costs of making their services and facilities more accessible to customers and employees with special needs—up to an annual maximum of $10,000.

You can use the Disabled Access Credit to help offset the costs of hiring ASL professionals to assist hearing-impaired customers and employees or qualified readers to aid those with visual impairments.

To qualify, your business must generate gross receipts of $1 million or less per year and/or employ 30 or fewer full-time employees.

To claim this tax credit, you need to file IRS Form 8826 with your annual tax return.

Tax Filing Considerations

Many small businesses may be able to deduct the costs of engaging these accessibility-enhancing specialists and also receive the 50% Disabled Access Credit for the same qualified expenditures.  

You’ll want to consult with your accountant or tax professional to make sure that your business is eligible to take advantage of these special tax breaks and get advice on how to properly document these expenses.

While you’re meeting with your tax professional, consider asking them to proactively encourage their other clients to take advantage of the Disabled Access Credit. You, too, can spread the word about them.

Not only will leveraging these tax breaks help small-business owners lower their costs of compliance, but it will encourage them to make their locations more accessible to all of their potential customers and clients. Which, after all, is good for business.

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