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SMB Tax Deduction for ASL Accessibility: What to Know


According to the latest numbers, roughly 15% of adults in America have some level of hearing impairment. The primary means of communication for individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing (HOH) is American Sign Language (ASL).

However, ASL interpretation is not always as readily available as it should be in business settings. Regardless of the type of business you operate, not offering access to an ASL interpreter can mean inadvertently turning away a large portion of the population.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) may want to implement a strategy for serving the Deaf and HOH community. However, this most often means making an investment in ASL language access services, such as video remote ASL interpreting. Thankfully, SMB tax deductions are available to help cover the costs of ASL accessibility. Take a closer look at the ASL accessibility tax deduction and what you need to know about claiming this credit as a business owner. 

ASL Accessibility Tax Deduction

The ASL accessibility tax deduction is actually the Disabled Access Credit (filed with form 8826), which is a sub-credit that can be claimed as part of the general business credit. This credit was initially deployed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to help SMBs comply with guidelines established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Naturally, investing in certain language access services or devices means the business incurs costs. However, the credit is designed to offset the costs to some extent. 

The ASL accessibility tax deduction reimburses 50% of listed eligible expenses. While you cannot claim the initial $250 worth of costs, you can claim up to $10,000 in expenditures. Therefore, the maximum tax credit you can reap would be $5,000. 

Who Qualifies for the Credit?

While the Disabled Access Credit is good news for many business owners, not every type of business qualifies for the credit. According to the IRS, the credit can be claimed by businesses that had one million dollars or less in gross sales receipts during the previous year or had 30 or fewer full-time employees. In addition, the business owner must opt to claim the credit by filing form 8826. 

What Are Eligible Access Expenditures?

The IRS says expenditures incurred specifically to comply with requirements set forth by the ADA are covered. For eligible small businesses, this includes: 

  • Expenses associated with removing barriers that would prevent a person with disabilities from accessing the business 
  • Expenses paid to provide audio materials or an interpreter for hearing-impaired individuals 
  • Expenses for providing taped texts, visual materials, or qualified readers for people with visual impairments 
  • Expenses paid to modify existing equipment or acquire devices or equipment for individuals with disabilities

Claiming SMB Tax Deductions for ASL Accessibility Expenses 

Which expenses would be covered with the Disabled Access Credit? For SMBs looking to implement ASL accessibility, the expenses for doing so would most often fall under the second listed eligible access expense: to provide qualified interpreters or other methods of making audio materials available to hearing-impaired individuals.

However, some SMBs may also be eligible to claim the credit if they paid to acquire or modify equipment for individuals with disabilities (eligible expense number four). According to both of these eligibility rules, several expenses associated with providing ASL accessibility may mean the business is eligible to claim the credit, including: 

  • Costs incurred by hiring an in-person ASL interpreter 
  • Costs incurred by hiring a remote ASL interpreter 
  • Costs incurred by investing in devices used for remote ASL, such as webcams and streaming devices  

How Often Can You Claim These SMB Tax Deductions?

The Disabled Access Credit is actually an annual credit that SMBs can claim. Therefore, you can claim the deduction every tax year that you have expenses for ASL language access services. 

Need ASL Language Access for Your Business?

With tax deductions in place for small business owners who pay for ASL interpreters, more business owners can pay for these services without affecting their overall profitability. Need help bringing ASL interpreting into your business? Reach out to GLOBO to see our language access services in action. 

Request a Demo

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