2012-03-01 / Front Page

Rush Holt discusses Affordable Care Act

Workshop explains how small business owners will be affected

SOUTH BRUNSWICK — President Barack Obama’s health care reforms included in the 2010 Affordable Care Act have already brought about many changes, and some provisions have yet to take effect.

To help small business owners wade through the tax impacts of the law, Rep. Rush Holt (D-12th District) sponsored an education workshop on Feb. 23 at the South Brunswick Public Library. It was one in a series of workshops spanning 44 local towns.

“The Affordable Care Act is the largest change inAmerica since Medicare passed,” Holt told the small crowd. “It is gradually taking effect, and there are lots of implications for employers as well as health care providers.”

With that introduction, Holt then handed the workshop over to two Internal Revenue Service (IRS) professionals. Glenn Gizzi and Brian Finn, stakeholder liaisons, highlighted a few of the 514 provisions that the attendees, ranging from importers to farmers, should be aware of when filing taxes.

Gizzi first outlined the small business healthcare tax credit, which is worth up to 35 percent of premium costs for small employers and up to 25 percent for tax-exempt employers through 2013. However, as the average wage of the employees increases, the credit percentage for the employer decreases.

Gizzi also emphasized that reporting of the value of the health insurance coverage provided to employees is optional for employers for 2011 and will remain optional for small business employers in 2012.

Additional changes of significance include health coverage for an employee’s children under 27 years old and expanded tax benefits for health care professionals working in underserved communities. Also, over-the-counter drugs are reimbursable through health care savings programs only if the OTC drugs are prescribed.

For more information about the new tax provisions, Gizzi and Finn recommended visiting the IRS website, where explanations of the expanded adoption credit, the expanded veterans tax credit and the excise tax on indoor tanning services, among many other changes, can be found.

“There is a lot of information on the site,” Gizzi said. “It was bad originally, but it’s gotten a lot better.”

The website can currently be accessed in six languages other than English: Spanish, Russian, German, Vietnamese, Korean and Mandarin Chinese. All IRS webinars are archived on the site’s new video portal.

Gizzi also suggested that attendees subscribe to the IRS’s e-newsletter for small businesses. It is one of 22 e-news subscriptions available.

Holt is scheduled to sponsor a federal procurement workshop on March 14 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters in Manalapan. Representatives from the U.S. General Services Administration, U.S. Small Business Administration and New Jersey Small Business Development Centers will join Holt in explaining how to do business with the federal government, the federal procurement process and obtaining federal contracts.

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