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If you have made some significant investments in your business and haven’t already begun working on your website accessibility, these tax breaks may just be what you need right now. We all would be aware of the tax credits that help us with the costs incurred towards aiding accessibility like hiring a sign language interpreter for an event or a wheelchair ramp, etc. Likewise, there is a tax credit in the United States for having an accessible website as well. So in this blog, we will be seeing how you can avail the website accessibility tax credit and discuss the various additional advantages you can benefit from by having an accessible website. Apart from the many advantages, creating a barrier-free digital experience without any website accessibility challenges for all the people with disabilities is a much-appreciated initiative.
Website Accessibility Tax Credit
According to an article cited by Forbes, 71% of website users with disabilities will leave the site immediately if the site is not accessible and search for one that is more user-friendly. The major issue here is that it will shoot the bounce rate up and harm your organic rankings. So even after doing all the hard work to reach a valid user, you will miss out on reaping the benefits. So, it is very clear that having an accessible website has lots of benefits and one of them is the tax credit.
The website accessibility tax credit is primarily intended to encourage businesses to make their websites accessible by compensating the costs incurred in doing so. Under the IRS Code Section 44, Disabled Access Credit, companies who make changes to make their business accessible to people with disabilities are eligible for a $5,000 tax credit. Since your website is also seen as a part of your business, having an accessible website will make you eligible for the web accessibility tax credit.
How to Apply for the Website Accessibility Tax Credit
- To be eligible for the website accessibility tax credit, your company must have annual revenues of less than $1 million and have less than 30 full-time workers.
- If eligible, the businesses may apply for the tax credit via the IRS 8826 form.
- A tax of 50% is eligible for businesses whose list of eligible expenditures exceeds $250 but does not exceed $10,250 for a taxable year.
Note: These website accessibility tax credits are different from the tax deductions. They will be applied after the tax is determined, and the credit will be removed directly from the tax owed.
Additional Benefits of Website Accessibility
While website accessibility is a vital aim for encouraging more people to utilize the internet, it also has a direct influence on a company’s digital success. So let’s explore the additional benefits apart from the website accessibility tax credit that an accessible website can offer.
The purpose of accessibility is to ensure access to information for individuals with disabilities and enable them to use the web services like everyone. But it also increases the usability of your website for all users and makes it easier for mobile phone users & old age users to view your content. Since the number of mobile phone users on the internet is on the rise, this is a key benefit that you shouldn’t miss out on. Although it is not possible to design a website that’s accessible to all, a few common modifications can go a long way in reaching a wider audience.
Accessibility enablers like a proper heading structure, alt text, closed captions, and video transcripts are also effective SEO boosters that can help in the organic reach and ranking of your website and its content. Apart from that, the decrease in bounce rate that we discussed earlier will also improve the SEO health of your website.
Building a Positive PR
Positive PR can go a long way in helping boost your visibility. The value of your brand is impacted by the values and beliefs you stand for. Since web accessibility is universally agreed upon to be a necessity, projecting your brand’s efforts in ensuring that the disabled people’s right to information is fulfilled will definitely be a boom.
Higher Quality Code
Developing a site that is accessible is comparatively easier than making a site accessible due to various reasons. So if you are creating a website with the intent of making it accessible, you will observe that the code is cleaner and of higher quality. So the end result will be the reduction of bugs, better performance, and overall better usability.
But what if your Website isn’t Accessible?
Apart from helping a business attain digital visibility, success, and the website accessibility tax credit, accessible websites also protect it from legal issues. The number of website accessibility lawsuits is rapidly increasing with high-profile companies such as Netflix and Dominos facing such litigations. The rise of awareness with regards to website accessibility could be a major contributor to such litigations. So companies looking to stay away from any kind of discrimination accusations and legal actions should seek to incorporate online accessibility standards such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). They can also receive a Letter of Reasonable Accessibility attesting to the fact that their website has been audited and reasonable modifications have been made to help the individuals with disabilities.
Website Accessibility Challenges
Though you can perform basic checks from your end, it is always recommended to hand it over to the experts by approaching a web accessibility testing company as there are numerous challenges. It will also not be enough to make your site comply with the WCAG conformance levels and help you stay safe from legal actions. Even the smallest of accessibility issues can become obstacles that make it difficult or even impossible for impaired users to access, navigate, or interact with your website’s content. So here’s a list of the most common web accessibility challenges one can face.
- The size and nature of the website are factors as it will be hard to implement accessibility in large and dynamic websites.
- The scope for automation in accessibility testing is very minimal and so it would require a lot of manual effort.
- The testers performing the accessibility testing should be well-versed with all the WCAG standards to be effective.
- Performing accessibility testing is also very different from the other types of software testing because of the guidelines we have to adhere to. So there is a lack of good accessibility testers who can look past the guidelines and test with the user experience of the people with disabilities in mind.
- Not all disabilities are covered under WCAG or have the required aids to overcome the limitations.
- Despite the presence of WCAG, there are different accessibility laws around the world and you would have to comply with those as well.
The most obvious benefit of having an accessible website is that it helps people with disabilities enjoy the digital experience just like everyone else. But web accessibility doesn’t limit itself to just that, it also serves as a source for the $5,000 website accessibility tax credit, improves the SEO, enhances the overall usability, and so on. If you’re worried about how you’ll be able to attain the required compliance on your own, you could always reach out to an established web accessibility testing services provider such as us to attain the required accessibility compliance without having to burn a hole in your pocket. Our team of experienced accessibility testers here at Codoid is ready to help. We are passionate about making your website as accessible as possible to all users!