N.H. small businesses can reap health tax credit



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Over 80 percent of New Hampshire's smallest businesses will be eligible for tax credits this year to help finance employee health-care coverage, according to a recently released report.Beginning this year and running until 2014, businesses with fewer than 25 workers and average wages of under $50,000 will be eligible to receive up to a 35 percent tax credit on the cost of their employees’ health insurance. Nonprofits are eligible to receive a tax credit of as much as 25 percent.The smallest of small businesses – those with 10 or fewer employees and an average wage of less than $25,000 – are eligible to receive the full 35 percent credit, with eligible nonprofits qualifying for the full 25 percent credit.That translates to some 19,600 businesses, according to "A Helping Hand for Small Businesses: Health Insurance Tax Credits," released by Families USA, a consumer health organization, and Small Business Majority, a small-business advocacy group.According to the report, there were about 4,500 businesses in the Granite State that met the criteria for the maximum credit."Congress designed this system with the intent of providing the greatest help to those businesses most in need—the smallest employers who face the highest premiums and are the least able to offer coverage to their workers," said the report.Covered part-time workers also can go toward calculating the total employee count provision of the tax credit, with two part-time employees counting as one full-time worker. This could be an incentive for employers to provide coverage for their part-time workers, a group that often lacks health benefits.One drawback to the tax credit is that it is currently slated to sunset in 2014. It is hoped that the planned health insurance exchanges – which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines as "a transparent and competitive insurance marketplace" – will be functioning by then, offering more affordable plans.New Hampshire small employers who want to get some idea of what companies are offering health plans for those with 25 or fewer employees in the state, can visit HealthCare.gov.While the insurers and the number of small-employer plans they offer is available, links to plan specifics, and more importantly, actual prices won’t be listed until October. -- CINDY KIBBE/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

 

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