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Accessibility.Blog

IRS Will Pay $5,000 for Website Accessibility

March 28, 2017 11:26:38 AM EDT

Defray Your Expenses for Website Accessibility

As a small business owner or senior manager, you are always looking for ways to improve profit, reduce costs and better serve your customers, clients, and employees. Thanks to recent changes in website accessibility requirements you could be eligible for a $5,000 credit.

Through the IRS Code Section 44, Disabled Access Credit, your small business can qualify for a tax credit for increasing website accessibility and making other accommodations to make your business more usable to persons with disabilities. The policy statement “small businesses may take an annual tax credit for making their businesses accessible to persons with disabilities,” should, in most cases, cover the efforts you make to comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. § 794 (d)).

Originally enacted in 1998 by the United States Congress to cover federal agencies and then broadened to cover any organization that receives federal funding or does business with the government in January 2017, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities.

"The law (29 U.S.C. § 794 (d)) applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508, agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to access available to others." All federal agencies and companies with whom they do businesses must be compliant with these rules by no later than January 2018.

The Final Ruling for WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY

In its formal statement documenting the final rule regarding the January 2017 amendment, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board states:

“We, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board or Board), are revising and updating, in a single rulemaking, our standards for electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by Federal agencies covered by section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well as our guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment covered by Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934. The revisions and updates to the section 508-based standards and section 255-based guidelines are intended to ensure that information and communication technology covered by the respective statutes is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.”

The aforementioned statement and guidelines indicate that all efforts to improve website accessibility are eligible for a 50% credit for any expenditures over $250, not to exceed $10,250, for a maximum benefit of $5,000. The credit can be subtracted from your tax liability but it's recommended that companies applying for this credit confirm eligibility with their Tax Advisor.

Who Qualifies and What Expenses are Covered

To qualify, your business must have annual revenues of less than $1 million and employ fewer than 30 full-time employees. According to the IRS policy statement, the covered expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • “sign language interpreters for employees or customers who have hearing impairments;
  • readers for employees or customers who have visual impairments;
  • the purchase of adaptive equipment or the modification of equipment;
  • the production of print materials in accessible formats (e.g., Braille, audio tape, large print)
  • the removal of barriers, in buildings or vehicles, which prevent a business from being accessible to, or usable by, individuals with disabilities; and
  • fees for consulting services (under certain circumstances).”

The above covered items “must be paid or incurred to enable a small business to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

How Can You Claim the Credit?

Businesses can claim the credit using the Disabled Access Credit on IRS Form 8826.

Where Can You Find Additional Information?

Office of Associate Counsel, IRS
Passthroughs & Special Industries
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20224
(202) 622-3110

Who Can Help You with Website Accessibility

The Bureau of Internet Accessibility (BoIA) is an organization dedicated to helping organizations comply with all legal requirements and improve website accessibility. BoIA provides accessibility audits, testing, training, and remediation services. Contact us to improve your website accessibility, make sure your site meets accessibility standards, and to ensure you are serving your entire audience.

 

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