1:02 PM, Nov 13, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
In mid-October, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange quietly postponed all of the forums it had scheduled to inform small businesses about the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), as we reported. Now, in a Friday press release, the Maryland board overseeing the state's Obamacare website announced it had postponed the opening of the SHOP exchange itself from January 1 until April 1, 2014, which could impact businesses that are counting on the tax credits heavily promoted by the Obama administration to help small businesses provide coverage to their employees:
Maryland has a well- functioning small group market which offers the same prices as those that will be offered through the small group exchange, known as the SHOP. The Board approved a plan to open the SHOP on April 1, 2014, which will allow more time for testing and coordination over the next several months.
Although the press release says that Maryland's small group market offers the same prices as SHOP plans, it does not mention that beginning in 2014, the health insurance tax credits available to businesses are only available to plans purchased via the SHOP exchanges, as noted at Healthcare.gov, and as we reported back in July. Coverage for small businesses through Maryland's SHOP was previously able to start as early as March 1, 2014, but now that the opening of the marketplace has been delayed until April 1, the earliest date coverage can begin is unclear. A business that desires to take advantage of the tax credits would either have to delay coverage until SHOP plans are available, or buy a plan through the conventional insurance system, and then reapply through SHOP once the exchange opens. In either case, the tax credit would only be available for the portion of the year that SHOP coverage is in effect.
The Maryland Health Connection website itself is also still promoting the tax credits. It does not indicate what effect the delay will have on the ability of businesses to qualify, though it also notes that "[t]he health care tax credits and deductions are available only if you get coverage through the SHOP."
Since only premiums paid on coverage obtained through SHOP qualify for the tax credit, the calculator provided on the site to come up with a business's estimated annual tax credit is not accurate for coverage obtained during 2014 because it does not take the partial year into account.
Although the Maryland Health Connection website does not address the effects of the delay, a presentation prepared for a Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Board Meeting on Friday, November 8, asserts that "Tax credits will not be lost – available for 2 years from first receipt." This is an apparent reference to the fact that the tax credit is limited to two consecutive years, beginning the year coverage starts. However, according to proposed rules by the IRS published in the federal register, the two-year limit is being interpreted as two tax years, not a 24-month period that may overlap into three different years [emphasis added]:
[T]his credit is available to any eligible small employer only twice (because the credit can be claimed by a small employer only for two consecutive taxable years beginning after December 31, 2013, beginning with the taxable year for which the small employer first claims the credit). Accordingly, no small employer will calculate the credit amount or complete the process for claiming the credit under this regulation more than two times.
4:37 PM, Jul 29, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
When the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, one provision that kicked in immediately was a Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. The IRS explains how the fairly generous credit works:
For tax years 2010 through 2013, the maximum credit is 35 percent for small business employers and 25 percent for small tax-exempt employers such as charities...
The mythology of small business meets a retailing giant. Apr 29, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 31 • By JAY WEISER
Not long ago, New York City stopped a Walmart store from being built in its downtrodden East New York neighborhood, another defeat in the giant discounter/grocer’s six-year effort to enter the five boroughs. Small retailers and unions, in prevailing, embraced a century-old tradition of political suppression of retail competition. Notwithstanding the loud American romance with entrepreneurship, Marc Levinson’s history of the erstwhile supermarket giant A&P—the Walmart of its day—rewrites the story.
5:15 PM, Jan 15, 2013 • By FRED BARNES
President Obama, take note. Small business owners think Washington has become increasingly hostile in recent years to free enterprise and thus to job creation, a survey conducted last week found. And his policies are part of the problem.
12:40 PM, Jul 25, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
While Barack Obama has taken to swing state airwaves to walk back his recent comments that business owners "didn't build" their businesses, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren is not backing down from similar comments she made last year.
10:01 AM, Jul 24, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey, who is up for reelection this year, carefully put some space between himself and Barack Obama's recent comment that American entrepreneurs didn't build their businesses on their own.
Speaking at a luncheon in Harrisburg, Casey said that "everyone knows that when someone builds a business and is successful, they are successful for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons they're successful is they work hard."
2:43 PM, Aug 26, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In the Washington Post, Camden Fine, president and chief executive of the Independent Community Bankers of America, writes, “I was astounded this month when the Federal Reserve announced its intention to keep interest rates at zero percent for at least the next two years. I kept staring at that number, 2013, assuming that it was a mistake.” He continues, “In my view, the Fed’s policy is nothing more than a backdoor bailout for the Wall Street mega-banks and investment houses; it amounts to the back of the hand for the community banks of this country.”
12:07 PM, Jul 6, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Well, I guess now we know why Kal Penn left the administration. It wasn't because he suddenly realized he'd given up a plum regular role on a top-rated network TV show for a wholly unfulfilling career as a flack for Obama administration policies, which— let's face it— didn't give him nearly the energizing jolt of moral superiority that hanging Shepard Fairey posters did.
Six more weeks of speeches?9:30 AM, Feb 2, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Obama will be back on the campaign trail yet again today in Nashua, N.H. This will be his second town hall event since proclaiming in the State of the Union, "We can't wage a perpetual campaign."
He'll talk about his plan to use $30 billion from TARP to spur lending to small businesses:
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