In the eyes of the federal government, a small business is a company with fewer than 100 employees. But some states define a small business differently, so it's best to check.
Under the new healthcare law, the smallest companies with 10 or fewer full-time employees earning less than an average of $25,000 per year are eligible for the largest tax credits - 35 percent of the insurance premiums paid as of January 1, 2010, and 50 percent in 2014 (small nonprofits are eligible for 25 percent now and 35 percent in 2014). The amount of tax credit steadily decreases as the size and wages of the company increase up to 25 employees earning an average of $50,000 per year.
In fact, there are no tax credits available for firms with more than 25 employees or for any employee who earns more than $80,000 per year regardless of the company's size. And part-time workers will be aggregated when calculating the number of employees (i.e. a company with 50 half-time workers will be viewed as having 25 full-time employees).
The tax credit program is available to small companies that already provide employee insurance as well as to those that start. However, beginning in 2014, businesses with more than 50 employees will be required to either offer healthcare coverage or pay an -"assessment-" of $2,000 per year per full-time worker not covered (although they won't charge for the first 30 uncovered employees). Health insurance programs will also have to meet some minimum requirements - i.e. covering certain services and at least 60 percent of employee overall costs - or the company will face additional penalties.
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