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For tax years 2010 – 2013, eligible small employers are entitled to a 35% tax credit for health insurance premiums they pay for employees. Tax-exempt entities are eligible for a 25% credit.
To qualify for the credit, an employer must:
Employers with less than 10 FTEs and average annual wages of $25,000 or less are eligible for the full credit. There is a phase-out of the credit for employers that have between 10 and 25 FTEs or average annual wages between $25,000 and $50,000.
All employers calculate the credit using IRS Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums. Taxable employers claim the credit on their federal tax return and can apply the credit to both regular and alternative minimum tax. Tax-exempt employers claim the credit by filing Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, and can receive a refundable credit up to the amount of the employer’s payroll taxes.
In 2014, the credit will continue to be available, but with significant modifications. Employers will only be eligible for the credit if they purchase health insurance through the new Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). The SHOP is one component of the internet-based health insurance marketplace, also known as an exchange, which launches on Oct. 1, 2013.
Other upcoming changes include: