The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.
In 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law and became effective on January 1, 2009. The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the definition of “disability.” The changes in the definition of disability in the ADAAA apply to all titles of the ADA, including Title I (employment practices of private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local governments, employment agencies, labor unions, agents of the employer and joint management labor committees); Title II (programs and activities of state and local government entities); and Title III (private entities that are considered places of public accommodation).
Other Resources on the ADA
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To assist businesses with complying with the ADA, Section 44 of the IRS Code allows a tax credit for small businesses and Section 190 of the IRS Code allows a tax deduction for all businesses.
Did you know that by law you are required to make sure your website is accessible to people with disabilities? In 1990, the American Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed requiring that all public spaces be accessible to people with disabilities. Since then, it has been updated to include websites. It’s important to make sure your website meets ADA standards, both so that it is accessible to a wide audience, and to prevent yourself from vulnerability to an ADA compliance lawsuit.
Fortunately, the IRS provides for tax credits & deductions for businesses to make modifications to meet ADA website compliance. You may be eligible for both an ADA tax credit of up to $5,000 and an ADA tax deduction of up to $15,000 every year for ADA compliance modifications to your website
It’s important to check your website for ADA compliance on a regular basis, because even with good intentions, you can fall short of compliance and open yourself to an accessibility law suit. Between 2017 and 2019, more than two thirds of the top 500 retailers in the U.S. were sued for failure to meet ADA website compliance. In 2020, there were 10,982 ADA website compliance lawsuits filed in Federal court. Run a regular scan of your website and contact an experienced web developer to correct any ADA compliance issues. These measures are important both for accessibility and to protect yourself legally.
If you’re unsure whether you’re website is ADA compliant, these are some of the things you’ll need to check for: Correct color contrast for users with color vision deficiency Link text should be descriptive rather than ambiguous such as “click here” Video and multimedia must have captions and other accessibility features Links that open in a new window are tagged appropriately All images should have alternate text attributes Please see our article “How to Make Your WordPress Website ADA Compliant” for a full list of issues. In order to check a WordPress website to determine if it meets compliance, we recommend installing the WP ADA Compliance Check Basic Plugin. This plugin will run a free scan of your website and identify any ADA issues that need to be corrected.
Fortunately, your business may qualify for a tax credit of up to $5,000 to make these ADA website modifications. This credit is available for small businesses, defined as a business with fewer than 30 full time employees OR revenue of less than $1 million annually. When the ADA was passed in 1990, the IRS created a Section 44 tax credit to help reduce the cost to small businesses making modifications such as including a wheelchair accessible ramp and signage in braille. At the time, websites were not an important public space or vehicle of commerce. Today, accessibility to websites is crucial for customers to be able to access goods and services. You can now apply Section 44 to your business expenses for website compliance using the form below. See this fact sheet on Section 44 (PDF) for more information.
In addition to the tax credit for website modifications, Section 190 of the tax code also allows businesses a tax deduction of up to $15,000 annually for removal of accessibility barriers. These funds can be used for website maintenance that removes any ADA compliance issues that you find on your website. If you are already performing regular ADA compliance website maintenance, this is an important tax deduction that your company may be eligible for. See below to learn how the ADA tax credit and tax deduction can be combined.