Wednesday, May 23, 2018


From the State House News Service

The Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to create a tax credit intended to ease the fiscal sting for businesses that have to pay both state and federal employee health care assessments.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr said he would bet that every senator has heard from businesses that feel it is unfair for them to be required to pay the state Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) supplement and the federal Employer Shared Responsibility Payment.

"This tax credit would allow an employer to claim a credit if they are subject to the federal assessment as well as the state assessment," Tarr said. "The credit ensures employers are not being doubly penalized in the same tax year."

Sen. Vinny deMacedo said the double assessment has "caused extreme hardship and frustration." He said, "I have had calls from constituents about the challenges this is imposing upon them."

The Senate adopted Tarr's budget amendment (# 351) by a 38-0 vote Wednesday afternoon.

The amendment would allow any business taxpayer that pays both the EMAC supplement and the employer shared responsibility payment in the same taxable year to take "a refundable credit against the tax liability ... in an amount equal to $750 times the lesser of: (i) the number of Massachusetts employees for which the taxpayer pays the employer shared responsibility payment in the taxable year, or (ii) the number of full-time employees on ConnectorCare for which the taxpayer pays the EMAC supplement in the taxable year."

The tax credit would apply for tax years "beginning on or after January 1, 2018 and before January 1, 2020" and would not be transferable.

The fiscal year 2018 budget imposed a two-tier employer assessment to help pay for rising MassHealth costs. Tier one boosted EMAC from $51 to $77 per year. The second tier hits employers with penalties of up to $750 per employee if their workers choose MassHealth coverage even though they have access to private insurance through their employers. - Colin A. Young/SHNS