The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law that protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. The ADA applies to all elements of public life including transportation, school, work, and any other public or private place open to the general public. When it comes to the construction of new buildings, the ADA requires that all places of public accommodation and commercial facilities be accessible. Becoming and remaining compliant with ADA standards will require extra time, work, and money for your business. However, you will find that it is worth it to create a business that is diverse and inclusive.
Here are some reasons why your business and its facilities should be ADA compliant:
You will gain more customers and keep them
It should go without saying that if your business is ADA compliant, then your consumer market will include an entire group of individuals that would’ve otherwise been excluded. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 1 to 5 American citizens have a disability. In addition to that, The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) reports that customers with disabilities and their friends and family make up a market segment worth more than $3 trillion. Excluding customers with disabilities could drastically diminish your potential customer base.
The number of individuals with disabilities is growing as the U.S. population ages
As stated before, the population of individuals with disabilities is large. Not only is it large but it is getting larger. As the U.S. population ages, more and more people will need accessibility accommodations. Thanks to advancements in medical technology, people are able to live longer and survive conditions that could’ve been fatal in the past. Due to this, many people are living with chronic conditions or have recovered from a condition that may have caused disability. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 157 million Americans are living with a chronic illness.
It will help boost your reputation and credibility
Many people in the disability community tend to stick together and help each other navigate the world. When someone comes across a business that is doing its due diligence in being socially responsible, they are more likely to refer that business to friends and family members who have disabilities and even those who don’t. According to a survey conducted by Cone Communications in 2015, 81% of consumers reported a willingness to go out of their way to support socially responsible businesses. Companies that do good for the community and make an effort to be inclusive are able to build trust with their customers.
You can receive IRS tax credit and deductions from the ADA
In addition to setting accessibility standards, the ADA also provides businesses with resources and incentives to help meet those goals. Two incentives available to businesses to help cover costs of access improvements are tax credits and tax deductions. Businesses with a maximum revenue of $1,000,000 from the previous tax year or a maximum of 30 employees can take advantage of a tax credit of $5,000 or less.
The credit can be used to cover a variety of expenditures, including:
- Readers for customers or employees with visual disabilities
- Sign language interpreters
- Purchase of adaptive equipment
- Production of accessible formats of printed materials (i.e. braille, large print, audio tape, computer diskette)
- Removal of architectural barriers in facilities or vehicles (alterations must comply with applicable accessibility standards)
- Fees for consulting services (under certain circumstances) A tax deduction is also available in the maximum amount of $15,000 per year. A business of any size may use this deduction for the removal of architectural or transportation barriers. In some instances, the tax credit and tax deduction can be used in combination.
It is the law
The ADA is designed to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities and dismantle any obstacles that would keep someone being able to receive services from a business. If you neglect to ensure that your business and facilities are ADA compliant, someone with a disability can file a complaint which will need to be settled in court. Violation of ADA stands can result in a fine up to $150,000.
It should be a goal of all businesses to create a space that is accepting and accessible to all people. Failure to do so will not only result in an entire missed demographic, but also a missed mark in doing what is right.
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