In today’s digital age, a company’s online presence is paramount to its success. As businesses increasingly rely on their websites to connect with customers and conduct transactions, ensuring that these platforms are accessible to everyone is not only a moral imperative but also a legal requirement.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that businesses provide equal access to individuals with disabilities, which also extends to the digital realm.
What many companies may not realize is that adhering to ADA compliance standards for their websites can not only enhance user experience but also lead to significant tax benefits in the form of tax credits.
This article explores how companies can gain tax credits for ADA-compliant websites.
What is ADA Compliance?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities in various areas of public life, including employment, transportation, and public accommodations. Over time, the definition of “public accommodations” has evolved to encompass digital spaces, including websites and mobile applications.
Websites must follow specific guidelines outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 to be ADA-compliant. These guidelines ensure that people with disabilities like visual impairments, hearing loss, cognitive limitations, and mobility challenges can easily access digital content.
Tax Credits for ADA Compliance
Businesses that comply with accessibility requirements for their websites may be eligible for tax credits under the ADA. The IRS provides the Disabled Access Credit (Section 44) as an incentive for small businesses that incur expenses related to accessibility improvements, including those made to digital platforms.
To qualify for this credit, a business must have total revenues of $1 million or less in the preceding tax year or have 30 or fewer full-time employees.
The Disabled Access Credit covers 50% of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $5,000 per year, making it an attractive incentive for businesses to invest in ADA-compliant websites. Eligible expenses include costs related to making websites accessible, such as modifying navigation, adding alternative text to images, providing closed captioning for videos, improving keyboard navigation, and ensuring compatibility with screen readers.
Please note that the expenses should be related to ADA compliance and not general website development.
How to Get Tax Credits for ADA Compliance
- Consult with Accessibility Experts: Before making any changes to your website, consult with accessibility experts or consultants who are well-versed in ADA compliance and WCAG guidelines. They can thoroughly audit your website and provide recommendations for improvements.
- Implement necessary changes: Based on the recommendations of accessibility experts, make the necessary changes to your website to ensure it meets ADA compliance standards. This may involve redesigning certain elements, adding captions or alt text, improving color contrast, and optimizing keyboard navigation.
- Document Expenses: It is important to maintain thorough documentation of all expenses accrued while making your website compliant with the ADA guidelines. This includes costs related to design, development, testing and any third-party services utilized for accessibility enhancements.
- File for the Disabled Access Credit: When filing your business tax return, complete Form 8826 (Disabled Access Credit) to claim the tax credit. Attach documentation of your ADA compliance efforts, including receipts, invoices, and expense records.
Benefits of ADA Compliance Beyond Tax Credits
While the potential tax credits are a compelling incentive, the benefits of having an ADA-compliant website extend beyond financial gains, an accessible website can significantly expand your customer base by accommodating individuals with disabilities, who comprise a substantial portion of the population. Moreover, an accessible website is more user-friendly, improves user satisfaction, and enhances brand reputation.
In an era where digital accessibility is a fundamental right, businesses must take proactive steps to ensure their websites are ADA-compliant. By doing so, they fulfill their legal obligations, provide equal access to all individuals, and open the door to potential tax credits.
Investing in an ADA-compliant website shows a dedication to inclusivity and provides real advantages to help a business thrive and succeed over time.
Our team of accessibility experts can assist you in making your website ADA-compliant. We will guide you through the process, conduct an audit, and make the necessary changes to ensure your website meets accessibility standards, including compliance with the ADA.
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