If IRS Notice 1397 shows up in your mailbox, don't panic.
The postcard (an excerpt of which is shown below) doesn't mean you're in tax trouble. Neither does it indicate the IRS is about to audit you.
Rather, it's the agency's effort to let small businesses and tax-exempt organizations know that they might be eligible to claim the recently-enacted small business health care tax credit. More than 4 million of the cards are in the mail.
The tax break is part of the health care
reform measure, officially known as the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act, that was signed into law last month.
An early health care change: The credit, which takes effect this year and can be claim on 2010 returns filed in 2011, is one of
the first new health care provisions to go into effect.
It was created in an effort to encourage smaller companies that haven't before offered health insurance to their employees to now do so. For businesses that have been providing worker coverage, lawmakers hope the credit will ensure they keep up that benefit.
"Our postcard mailing, which is targeted at small employers, is intended to get the attention of small employers and encourage them to find out more," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman in announcing the postcard mailing last week. "We urge every small employer to take advantage of this credit if they qualify."
Who can claim it? In general, the credit is available to
small employers that pay at least half the cost of single coverage for
For tax years 2010 through 2013, the
maximum credit is 35 percent of premiums paid by eligible small business
employers and 25 percent of premiums paid by eligible tax-exempt organizations.
The maximum credit goes to companies that employ 10 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and pay annual average wages of $25,000 or less. Because the eligibility
rules are based in part on the number of FTEs, not the number of
employees, businesses that use part-time help may qualify even if they
employ more than 25 individuals.
The credit is completely phased out for
employers with 25 or more FTE workers or firms that pay average wages of
$50,000 per year or more.
More company coverage/credit info: If you haven't received the postcard yet or are an individual taxpayer and just want to see it, the IRS has posted it as a PDF file.
The agency also has created a table showing how many of the postcards it is sending out to each state.Related posts:
- IRS health care expansion not imminent
- Health care reform taxes, redux
- Tax provisions in the health care bill
- Does the tanning tax discriminate?
- Bye-bye Bo-Tax. Hello, Tan Tax
- The case for taxing health care benefits
- Health care bill gives IRS added power
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