Does your business or organization need or use interpreting services? Providing language access is a good idea for any entity in the United States, especially when trying to maintain ADA compliance. But it also means adding a line item to your budget to pay for a language service provider.
Fortunately, your business may be eligible for tax incentives! Providing interpreting services, updating signage to include braille, or providing other forms of ADA compliance could all fall under this umbrella.
The tax breaks you qualify for will depend on the nature of your business, and the aid that you’re providing. Keep reading for the details!
Improving Accessibility & Tax Credits
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was signed into law to prohibit discrimination based on disability. The ADA outlines a number of requirements for businesses and organizations when it comes to improving accessibility. Improving accessibility could include anything from providing braille signage for visually impaired customers, to altering architecture to be wheelchair accessible.
There are two forms of tax incentives available to (some) businesses that invest in improving accessibility: tax credits & tax deductions.
The tax credit applies specifically to businesses driving revenues of $1M or less or with 30 or fewer full-time employees. The credit can be used for expenditures such as ASL interpreters or signage improvements (e.g. adding braille). This tax credit can cover 50% of eligible expenses incurred in a year up to $10,250 (so about $5,000 in credit),
The tax deduction is specifically for the expense of removing architectural or transportation obstacles, and has a maximum deduction of $15,000 per year. This deduction can be combined or applied in conjunction with tax credits.
Tax Incentives for LEP Services
Providing interpreting or translation services to persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) does not fall under ADA compliance, and is therefore not eligible for the same tax credits as sign language services.
The good news is you often CAN apply for grants from both federal and private organizations that will help with the costs of interpreting/translation for LEP customers. This is especially true for the medical field, which has many federal funds available to offset the costs of language provisions required by the Civil Rights Act, HRSA, and the Department of Justice.
If you’re a business that doesn’t receive federal funding, your options for federal grants are more slight, but many private organizations, from local initiatives to nationwide non-profits (e.g. United Way), may still offer generous grants to encourage language access.
Finding an Interpreting Service
Now that you know about tax credits and other financial assistance available to you, you may need to improve accessibility in your own organization. ADA compliance is essential, as are other forms of improved connection (such as providing resources to LEP customers)… is your organization prepared?
At SpokenHere we specialize in interpreting and translation of over 200 languages, INCLUDING ASL! And we have helped countless clients remove language barriers that once stood in their (and their customers’) way. Get in touch with us, or explore some of the language services we provide, to see what a difference a partnership with SpokenHere can make.