A Tax 'Carrot' for Business

Tax breaks for workplace modifications can benefit employees with disabilities and employers.

Article Highlights:
  • Encourage accessibility in the workplace and at local businesses by notifying them of two tax breaks.
  • The Small Business Tax Credit and Architectural/Transportation Tax Deduction can be boons to businesses making accessibility improvements.
by Bill Norman on December 31, 2009 - 1:13am

QUEST Vol. 17, No. 1

Want to encourage local businesses and employers to make their properties more accessible? Try luring them with a tax break.

Employers and business owners have two very good reasons for making their sites accessible to people with disabilities: It’s the law under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and there’s money to help them.

Small business tax credit: disabled access credit

Businesses that employ 30 or fewer fulltime employees and earn no more than $1 million in a tax year may qualify for the credit (an amount deducted from their tax liability). Allowable expenses include purchase or modification of assistive equipment and removal of barriers to make buildings and vehicles accessible.

The maximum deductible amount is $5,000; the credit doesn’t apply to new construction. Buildings being modified must have been placed in service prior to Nov. 5, 1990.

Architectural/transportation tax deduction: barrier removal

All businesses can deduct up to $15,000 a year from their taxable income for accessibility improvements such as creating ramps, curb cuts and parking spaces; and modifying the height and/or width of drinking fountains, telephones, walkways and restrooms. The deduction can’t be used for new construction.

Both the tax credit and tax deduction are reported on IRS Form 8826, Disabled Access Credit. For more information see IRS Publication 535 (Business Expenses). Contact IRS at www.irs.gov or call (800) 829-3676. 

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