*Note: we are not tax experts or legal consultants and this is not legal nor tax advice. We advise you to talk to your trusted tax advisor for application to your specific circumstances.
If you have a website for your small business, you may or may not have heard the term “website accessibility” thrown around lately. Recently, several small local businesses have received demanding letters and have even been sued because their websites do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This stems from a 2019 Supreme Court ruling that you can read more about in this Los Angeles Times article titled Supreme Court allows blind people to sue retailers if their websites are not accessible.
Website Accessibility Goes WAY Beyond Access for People With Disabilities
What does “ Website Accessibility” actually mean?
Making your small business website accessible means that people with vision, cognitive, and other physical disabilities, AS WELL as people with environmental circumstances, have equal access to your content.
Generally, people just think that people who are blind are the only people who need to be considered for accessibility. But consider these examples of accessibility needs.
- A person who is colorblind finds the instructions “Text in RED indicates a required field.” How are they to know what’s in red if they don’t see the color red? (Which is roughly 8% of men.)
- A person who has slow internet wants to access your resource-heavy website but it won’t load because it’s too slow.
- A person in a coffee shop wants to engage with your video-only content, but can’t hear because of the noise around them and you provide no transcript nor closed captioning.
- An older person with limited computer experience tries to fill out your form but you don’t explain if “Name” means first or first and last. So, they enter both. Then on the next screen, they are asked for their last name. Now they are frustrated because they don’t know how to get back and edit the first answer.
You have just eliminated roughly 25% of your potential audience.
Luckily, we have a set of standards to help guide us.
The World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) most recent web content accessibility guidelines are known as WCAG 2.1.
At In Transit Studios we undertake voluntary certification courses on website accessibility from W3C to help ensure we can make acceible websites.
Making a website’s code and content accessible to all takes awareness, time, and a specific knowledge base, which has deterred many business owners from pulling the trigger to making their website accessible.
This recent incentive from the IRS, just may make now the time to make your website accessible.
The IRS May Grant Small Businesses $5,000 for Website Accessibility Through a Tax Credit
Under IRS Code Section 44, Disabled Access Credit, businesses who make accommodations to make their businesses accessible to persons with disabilities—including increasing their website accessibility—can now qualify for a $5,000 tax credit.
Eligible businesses can claim the credit using the Disabled Access Credit on IRS Form 8826.
This new tax credit is available to those qualified in the amount up to 50 percent of “eligible access expenditures” that exceed $250 but do not exceed $10,250 for a taxable year, for a maximum tax credit of $5,000.
Does Your Small Business Qualify for the Accessibility Tax Credit
If you’re a local small business owner, chances are you might quality According to the tax credit documentation your business can be eligible for the tax credit if:
- You had $1 million or less in gross receipts for the preceding tax year
- OR You had 30 or fewer full-time employees during the preceding tax year.
At In Transit Studios, we’re digital marketing professionals–not tax experts or legal consultants, so you’ll want to double-check your eligibility with your CPA or another tax advisor before moving forward.
Let us Help Make Your Website More Accessible
Your website should be evaluated for its accessibility to people with disabilities. It’s important to work with a professional company that understands the WCAG 2.1 standards and learn for yourself what makes a website code and content accessible. Unfortunately, shortcuts to accessible code do not exist–and adding a good-faith tool to your website may most likely will not cut it. And, anyone who just talks about the website code for screenreaders doesn’t understand the full scope of accessibility.
If you’re looking for assistance in this review and help to make your website WCAG 2.1 accessible, we are here to help.
Get a FREE Website Accessibility Assessment
Sign up for our email list and we will provide you a free assessment of your website’s current accessibility.