#CriptheCode to Enable Work

37 ABA Tax Times Vol. 4 (Aug. 2018)

5 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2018

See all articles by Francine J. Lipman

Francine J. Lipman

University of Nevada, Las Vegas - William S. Boyd School of Law

James E. Williamson

San Diego State University - College of Business Administration

Date Written: August 1, 2018


“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller The Access Technology Affordability Act of 2017 (the Act) (H.R. 1734/S.732) provides a refundable tax credit to offset out of pocket expenses of up to $2,500 for “qualified access technology” for qualifying blind individuals for consecutive three year periods. Thus, the credit is not a financial advantage, but merely reimburses blind individuals for any out-of-pocket costs for their employment and educational barriers not otherwise covered by insurance, employers or educational institutions. For purposes of the credit “qualified access technology” means hardware, software, or other information technology the primary function of which is to convert or adapt information that is visually represented into forms or formats useable by blind individuals. Blind individuals are defined by using the definition used for the additional standard deduction amount for blindness under Section 63(f)(4). Therefore, individuals are “blind if their central visual acuity does not exceed 20/200 in their better eye with correcting lenses, or if their visual acuity is greater than 20/200 but is accompanied by a limitation in the fields of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees.” The credit is targeted to low- and middle-income blind individuals and their families so it phases-out $100 for every $1,000 (or part thereof) over $75,000 of modified adjusted gross income ($150,000 for joint tax returns). Both the credit amount and the phase-out thresholds are indexed annually for inflation so that they remain consistent over time. By empowering blind individuals with a reimbursement of their employment-related expenses, they would be able to buy, own, and use technology that will enable them to work and engage in a fuller and richer life.

Note: ©2018. Published in ABA Tax Times, Vol. 37, No. 4, August 2018, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

Keywords: disability rights, tax policy, blindness, disability, tax credits, Americans with Disabilities Act, Access Technology Affordability Act, individual tax credits, refundable income tax credits, poverty, people with disabilities, work subsidies, access to work, access to technology

JEL Classification: K31, K36, K34,I14, 118, H21, H24,P46

Suggested Citation

Lipman, Francine J. and Williamson, James E., #CriptheCode to Enable Work (August 1, 2018). 37 ABA Tax Times Vol. 4 (Aug. 2018), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3216695

Francine J. Lipman (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas - William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )

4505 South Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

James E. Williamson

San Diego State University - College of Business Administration ( email )

School of Accountancy
San Diego, CA 92182-8230
United States
619-594-6021 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sdsu.edu

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