Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2018 Budget Eliminates Small-Business Incentives for Improving Access

Update: Some of the positive incentives for small businesses to remove barriers to accessibility are tax credits* and deductions. These were eliminated under the 2017 Tax Bill. A 'small business' is defined as one with fewer than 30 employees or annual revenues under $1M.

Beyond these incentives, business owners have always understood that reducing liability will save money, while removing barriers means more retail activity and more profits. In other words, Access Means Business. And it's simply the right thing to do.

Loss of these incentives has several impacts:

  • additional burdens on small business with limited margins and capacity. 
  • excludes approximately 12% of Idaho's population (along with their family members, friends and coworkers) from mostly rural Idaho business, 
  • signals to potential customers visiting rural communities for business or pleasure that they and their dollars are not welcome. 
  • removes 'carrots' or tax advantages, leaving only the 'stick' approach (fines) 
  • leaves rural Idaho businesses exposed to the threat of $10,000 fines for violations. 
See more here.

According to reviews of the tax cuts, persons with disabilities (and their employers and families) have been impacted in several ways, as the bill eliminates the following incentives:

  • The medical expense deduction: This tax deduction allowed people to deduct medical expenses that exceed 10% of their income. The number of people who used this deduction is small, but they are all people with high healthcare costs, which largely includes people with disabilities, chronic health conditions, and other medical conditions. People are allowed to deduct expenses for a variety of expenses including treatments, surgeries, medications, and medical travel. 
  • *The credit for expenditures to provide access to disabled individuals: This tax credit incentivized small businesses to make their businesses accessible for people with disabilities. Small businesses could claim a 50% credit per year for expenditures between $250 and $10,250 that increased access and compliance with the ADA. 
  • The Work Opportunity Tax Credit: This tax credit provided an incentive for employers to hire individuals from specific target groups who face increased barriers to employment. Target groups included people with disabilities who receive services from Vocational Rehabilitation, SSI recipients, returning citizens, veterans, and long-term unemployment compensation recipients." 
Click here to view the entire analysis of the anticipated impacts of the tax bill.