4th Quarter Small Business Considerations

small-business-credit-1360x860The Year End Crunch

For many, the passing of Labor Day signals the beginning of fall and the inevitable acceleration of year-end activities.  Year-end is punctuated by striving to make annual goals, completion of next year’s business plan and the number of work days reduced by holidays.  In other words, the 4th quarter is very busy and it is never too early to begin thinking about and documenting what must get done.

Is Healthcare on the Radar?

While not in the news as much, open enrollment for 2015 Affordable Care Act health insurance coverage begins November 15, 2014.  If you are a business owner considering offering health insurance to your employees, take time to review how the Insurance Marketplace works in your area.  The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace is open to employers with 50 or fewer full time equivalent employees (FTE) and might provide an affordable way to provide health insurance to employees.  For businesses with fewer than 25 employees, health insurance costs can sometimes be offset by tax credits.  The tax credit is worth up to 50% of your contribution toward employees’ premium costs (up to 35% for tax-exempt employers).

To purchase insurance under SHOP the business must have a principal business address within the state where you are buying coverage, or have an eligible employee with a primary worksite within the state where you are buying coverage.  The business must also have at least one common-law employee on payroll.  Certain hourly work requirements also apply.  Since many businesses have a mix of full and part-time employees, Healthcare.gov provides a calculator that considers both and helps determine whether or not a business qualifies.  Before starting, pull together the following information:

  • A list of employees, both full-time and part-time
  • The hours worked per week by part-time employees. Hours worked by each part-time employee can be entered on a worksheet that will calculate the total hours.

Healthcare.gov offers a similar calculator to determine tax credit eligibility.  Before using the SHOP Tax Credit Estimator, the following information is helpful to have on hand.

  • Tax status (exempt vs. non-exempt)
  • A list of all full-time and part-time employees
  • The hours worked per week by part-time employees
  • Wage and tax forms
  • Insurance premiums paid last year (health and dental)

It Is Only September

As referenced at the start, Labor Day has just come and gone.  There is still plenty of time to work on those year-end activities but cold weather and December 31st will be here soon.  Take time to reflect on 4th quarter priorities and make a plan.  Healthcare may be one of those items under consideration.  If so, visit HealthCare.gov to explore and determine whether it makes sense for your company and employees.