As a small business owner with only 5 employees, you may not offer benefits. After all, it’s an added expense that isn’t necessarily needed for day to day operations. Many small businesses struggle with whether or not to provide their employees with benefits.

On the positive side, great benefits packages help attract and retain the very best employees. On the downside, as mentioned above, they’re an added expense.

Did your company file your taxes on time this year?  Does your tax bill leave you wondering how you can qualify for additional deductions?  The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit encourages small businesses to provide benefits for their employees by offering a generous tax deduction.  In the paragraphs below we’ll let you know just what you need to do to qualify and outline the potential impact to your bottom line.

What is the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit?

The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit is aimed at encouraging small businesses, less than 25 full-time employees, at offering health care benefits. For tax years 2010 through 2013, the maximum credit is 35 percent for small business employers and 25 percent for small tax-exempt employers such as non-profits or charities.

On Jan. 1, 2014, the rate will increase to 50 percent for small business employers and 35 percent for tax-exempt employers!

So, what does this mean for you? If you contributed 75,000 towards your employees’ health care premiums this past year (or previous years), and you qualify for a 20-percent credit, you’ll save $15,000! If you contributed 75,000 towards your employees’ health care premiums in 2010 and 2011 as well, that’s $45,000; a $15,000 credit for each tax year.

Even if you are a small company that did not owe taxes this year, you can carry the credit forward to upcoming tax years.

Does My Company Qualify?

If your company has less than 25 full-time equivalent employees, and you pay an average wage of less than $50,000 a year, then yes, you may be eligible for this tax credit. You must be paying at least half of employee health insurance premiums.

How Do I Claim This Credit?

You must use Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums, to calculate the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. This form is available for download on the IRS website.

Need some help? Talk to your dedicated HR Advisor today at (877) 636-9525. New to HR Shield? Contact us for more information on strategically positioning your business for success through HR initiatives.

Wage and hour compliance can be confusing, especially when your state law requires one thing, and federal law requires another.

What happens if state law requires payment of a higher minimum wage than the federal law (which is currently $7.25 per hour for covered non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act)?

In states where the state law requires a higher minimum wage, the higher standard applies. But, did you know that the federal law only requires a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for workers under the age of 20 during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment?

After 90 consecutive days of employment (or the employee reaching his or her 20th birthday), the employee must then receive a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In this particular case, if you are the employer of employees under the age of 20, you are going to want to refer to your state law’s specifications. If the state requires a higher standard, that is what will apply.

If your company operates in multiple states, and has employees in multiple states, you will need to review each employee’s particular state minimum wage (the state in which they reside and work in).

Need some help? With HR Shield, you get instant access to all the information, training, forms and expert advice you need to keep your workplace in compliance and protect your bottom line. We’ll help you identify exactly which regulations you need to satisfy and what you need to do to stay compliant across the board including the Fair Labor Standards Act and minimum wage specifics.

For more information, just contact us!