This compliance requirement has been around for many years, and now with the possibility of a $5,000 tax incentive, there’s no better time to take care of this and save your business from the possibility of a lawsuit.
About Website ADA Compliance
ADA compliance refers to the civil rights law Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which many of us are familiar with. Often, when we think of ADA compliance, what comes to mind is complying with guidelines such as ensuring accessible parking outside a business or providing reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.
You may not realize that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a business must also ensure its website is accessible. That’s because your business website is considered public, which falls under the ADA umbrella.
Website accessibility includes optimizing for screen readers (i.e., images with alternative text), providing audio alternatives and ensuring the site can be navigated via a keyboard, among other features designed to aid those with disabilities. There is a set of standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that offers guidelines.
If Your Website Isn’t Accessible
If your website isn’t ADA compliant, your business could become the target of a lawsuit.
When an attorney targets a company for ADA compliance, it starts with a demand letter. It’s important to review the letter with your legal counsel to ensure its validity.
If the demand letter proves valid, you’ll have an opportunity to audit your website and make necessary changes to bring it into ADA compliance. Typically, you’ll want to work with website accessibility specialists who can perform the audit and either make the required changes for you or make recommendations.
If you haven’t received a demand letter, take a preemptive approach by working with your website developers to ensure your existing website, or one you are planning on launching, is accessible. You may also consider hiring an outside expert.
Tax Credit Eligibility And Filing
Many small businesses that incurred expenses for ADA compliance (whether for website accessibility or other approved expenses) may qualify for the tax credit.
According to the IRS, a small business qualifies if it had gross receipts of $1 million or less or fewer than 30 full-time employees in the preceding tax year.
You can receive up to 50% of eligible expenses, including costs associated with website ADA compliance, in the form of an IRS tax credit. The only caveat is that the expenses must be between $250 and $10,000 for the taxable year.
Claiming the tax credit is simple using IRS Form 8826 (Disabled Access Credit). Your accountant or tax specialist can confirm you qualify and that you have eligible expenses (listed on the second page of Form 8826).
Complying with the ADA guidelines for your business website is an excellent way to earn a tax credit of up to $5,000 and follow good business practices. The Americans with Disabilities Act helps ensure people of all abilities have access to public spaces and places. When your website is accessible to all, it’s a win-win situation!