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Businesses Can "Do Good" and "Do Well" Through Tax Breaks Offered To Companies That Hire People With Disabilities

03/31/2003

Press Release
March 31, 2003
Contact: Michael Volpe
Phone: (202) 693-7880

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao and her Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) today reminded businesses that they can "do well" and "do good" by taking advantage of tax breaks offered to companies that hire people with disabilities.

"We want businesses to know that there are large numbers of skilled people with disabilities who have the qualifications they seek," said Chao. "By hiring people with disabilities, businesses can also take advantage of a variety of tax benefits offered by the federal government. So, during this tax season, businesses have a chance to both 'do well' and 'do good.'"

Explanations of the tax benefits can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions section on ODEP's website at www.dol.gov/odep. They include the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which allows employers tax credits of up to $2,400 for hiring people with disabilities; the Small Business Tax Credit: IRS Code Section 44, Disabled Access Credit, which helps small businesses cover the cost of making their businesses accessible, up to a maximum benefit of $5,000; and, the Architectural/ Transportation Tax Deduction: IRS Code Section 190, Barrier Removal, which allows businesses an annual deduction of up to $15,000 for expenses incurred to remove physical, structural, and transportation barriers for persons with disabilities at the workplace.

ODEP Assistant Secretary Roy Grizzard said it was important for businesses to take advantage of tax benefits that are not generally known or utilized in the business community. "According to a recent General Accounting Office report, a very small portion of either corporate taxpayers, or individual taxpayers with a business affiliation, use the tax credits to encourage the hiring, retention, and accommodation of workers with disabilities," Dr. Grizzard said. "ODEP is beginning an aggressive campaign to make companies more knowledgeable about these tax breaks by publicizing the information on its Web site and including it in meetings and listening sessions ODEP is having with a variety of its stakeholder groups."

ODEP also offers employers a variety of methods to help find and hire people with disabilities. These include the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a toll-free information and referral service on job accommodations for people with disabilities located at 1-800-526-7234 or at www.jan.wvu.edu, and the Employer Assistance Referral Network (EARN), a national toll-free telephone and electronic information referral service designed to assist employers in locating and recruiting qualified workers with disabilities. EARN can be reached at 1-866-Earn Now (1-866-327-6669) or via its Website (www.earnworks.com). ODEP also encourages employers and employees to access www.DisabilityInfo.gov, a cross-government portal on disability easily accessible to all Americans.

U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7773 or TTY (202) 693-7755.

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