Posted: March 16, 2012
With business tax-filing deadlines fast approaching, last week the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) encouraged small employers that provide health insurance to their employees to check out the small business health care tax credit and then claim it if they qualify. Even if a business has already filed their taxes for 2011, they can still claim the credit by filing an amended return.
The recently-revamped Small Business Health Care Tax Credit page on the IRS website is packed with information and resources designed to help small employers see if they qualify for the credit and then figure it correctly. These include a step-by-step guide for determining eligibility, examples of typical tax savings under various scenarios, answers to frequently-asked questions, a YouTube video and a webinar.
The small business health care tax credit was included in the Affordable Care Act enacted two years ago. Small employers that pay at least half of the premiums for employee health insurance coverage under a qualifying arrangement may be eligible for this credit. The credit is specifically targeted to help small businesses and tax-exempt organizations provide health insurance for their employees.
Depending upon how they are structured, eligible small employers are likely subject to one of the following three tax-filing deadlines:
Taxpayers needing more time to determine eligibility should consider obtaining an automatic tax-filing extension, usually for six months. See Form 4868 for individuals, Form 7004 and its instructions for businesses and Form 8868 for tax-exempt organizations.
Businesses that have already filed and later find that they qualified in 2010 or 2011 can still claim the credit by filing an amended return for one or both years. Corporations use Form 1120X, individuals use Form 1040X and tax-exempt organizations use Form 990-T.
Some businesses and tax-exempt organizations that already locked into health insurance plan structures and contributions may not have had the opportunity to make any needed adjustments to qualify for the credit for 2010 or 2011. These employers can still make the necessary changes to their health insurance plans so they qualify to claim the credit on 2012 returns or in years beyond. Eligible small employers can claim the credit for 2010 through 2013 and for two additional years beginning in 2014.
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