In response to National Disability Employment Month, which is observed in October, private sector nonprofit organizations are encouraging small business owners to consider adding disabled americans to their workforces. Health & Disability Advocates, a nonprofit organization established in 1992, has been getting the word out to businesses large and small, reminding them of the associated tax benefits and helping link up potential employers with qualified disabled workers.
Many small business owners might not realize that significant tax incentives exist to encourage hiring the disabled. The Disabled Access Credit provides a credit of as much as $10,000 for qualifying businesses to offset expenses they incur while complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Small firms might not have the human resources staff to find opportunities for the mutual benefit of both the hiring company and the disabled job-seeker – but the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy can help identify regional and national organizations to match them with disabled workers who meet their hiring needs. Businesses need to consult with their professional tax advisers to get specific information on the tax benefits that might accrue for employers who provide work for the disabled.
Employers might suspect that disabled workers will require more sick time and other special considerations; and some potential employers might worry about possible lawsuits if they have to let disabled workers go. Human resources experts note that such assumptions are often wrong, and that because disabled workers experience unemployment rates nearly double those of the non-disabled, they are highly motivated to perform well and often exceed expectations.
Illegal Hiring In the Spotlight
On a different note, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has stepped up efforts to crack down on the hiring of illegal immigrants. More companies – large and small – are receiving notices from the government advising them that audits of their hiring records are pending.
These audits – commonly known as I-9 audits – involve a variety of industries that include energy, technology and transportation. Last year saw a marked increase in I-9 audits (2,196, up from about 1,500 in 2009); by midsummer 2011, I-9 audits had already surpassed last year’s total. The hiring of illegals has become a hot button issue in Washington as concerns continue to grow over U.S. unemployment rates.
Recent statements from ICE have indicated that the inspections will involve employers of all sizes. They have given no further specific information regarding what type of businesses fall within their key categories, but some believe industries that could affect national security are a likely target.
For more information on how hiring disabled workers might lead to tax breaks and how immigration issues could affect your business, contact your tax and legal professionals.