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Blog 8, April 2022

You can probably list all the reasons to love automatic doors: convenience, attractiveness, energy efficiency. And the subject of this blog: how automatic doors help provide safe, easy access to buildings for people with physical challenges.

Some building owners might not know that automatic doors can help fulfill the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and are accordingly eligible for certain financial consideration to offset the costs of physical access modifications. These can come from the federal government, and sometimes states, in the form of grants and tax credits. They can provide great incentive for incorporating automatic doors into buildings.

Here are some quick details on each method building owners can use to get money back for doing the right thing. AAADM members can encourage customers to apply for these grants and credits. In some cases, organizations might not even be aware of their availability.

Grants

The Federal government and some states provide grants specifically for the purpose of helping businesses comply with the ADA’s physical accessibility requirements. Such grants must be applied for and approved by the granting entity. They often do not have to be repaid.

The federal infrastructure bill passed in 2021 awarded $5 billion in competitive grants to the Department of Transportation for projects that “...achieve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and expand accessibility for persons with disabilities…”

Proposed legislation in Minnesota provides an example of a grant program that would provide funds to eligible small school districts for the express purpose of “facilities improvements necessary for ADA compliance.” To apply for the small school district disability access grant, the school district must follow certain guidelines and provide a detailed description of the school facilities improvements and their costs. The funds would be available through June 30, 2025. AAADM supports this bill and urges members to write letters of support especially if they live, work or do business in Minnesota.

Tax Credits

There are federal tax incentive programs available to businesses considering alterations to improve physical accessibility. The Disabled Access Credit can help small businesses offset ADA-related eligible access expenditures. To qualify, a small business must have had either revenues of less than $1 million or 30 or fewer full-time workers in the prior year. Businesses can take the credit for the removal of barriers that deny physical accessibility to people with disabilities and the acquisition or modification of equipment or devices for individuals with disabilities, among other provisions.

The credit cannot be taken for new construction or planned alterations. Equal to 50% of eligible access expenditures in a year, Congress capped the amount at $10,250. In the current Congress, Senate Bill 2481 proposes to double the amount of eligible access expenditures to $20,500 and expand the gross receipt limitations to $2.5 million. The Senate Committee on Finance will consider the bill, which AAADM supports. Please consider sending a letter of support to the committee or to a member of the committee who represents your state.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, Section 190, a business of any size can take a tax deduction for the costs associated with the removal of architectural or transportation barriers. In addition, any business can take a business expense deduction of up to $15,000 per year for costs of removing barriers in facilities or vehicles. Both incentives can be used together for qualifying expenditures by eligible businesses.

By understanding these grants and tax credits, AAADM members can “open the door” to a more affordable solution for customers and a more accessible world for people with physical challenges.


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