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Employers know little about tax credits, says study

April 29, 2003 -- Human resource professionals in the nation's top companies know little about the tax incentives available to businesses for hiring persons with disabilities, says a study released in April. They also fear lawsuits over lack of compliance.

The Society for Human Resource Management conducted the survey, Employer Incentives for Hiring Individuals with Disabilities Survey, in conjunction with the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Wichita State University.

The most-used incentive program, says the study, is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit; however, only 16 percent of companies participating in the survey said they used this. Over three-fourths (77 percent) of respondents said their companies weren't using any of the incentive programs available for hiring persons with disabilties.

The following tax breaks are available to companies that hire people with disabilities:

  • The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which allows employers tax credits of up to $2,400 for hiring people with disabilities
  • The Small Business Tax Credit
  • The IRS Code Section 44, Disabled Access Credit, which helps small businesses cover the cost of making their businesses accessible, up to a maximum benefit of $5,000
  • The Architectural/ Transportation Tax Deduction: IRS Code Section 190, Barrier Removal, which allows businesses an annual deduction of up to $15,000 for expenses incurred to remove physical, structural, and transportation barriers for persons with disabilities at the workplace.

"Human resource professionals believe the ADA has had a positive impact on changing the climate toward hiring individuals with disabilities," says the Society, "yet they also believe the ADA has created an increased fear of lawsuits from compliance issues." The group says it is "the world's largest association devoted to human resource management," with more than 170,000 members.

Copies of the full report can be obtained from SHRM's Frank Scanlan at 703-535-6043 ( or Jen Jorgensen, 703-535-6356 (

Read press release from SHRM

A GAO study drew similar conclusions. Read about study.

More about tax breaks from the Dept. of Labor

More information from National Center on Workforce and Disability






Read the EEOC's Primer for Small Business on complying with the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act




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