The small business tax credit is generally only available with SHOP coverage, which you can purchase through an agent, broker or health insurance company or directly through some state-based Marketplaces. However, small businesses with a principal address in a county with no SHOP plans available can claim the small business tax credit by offering qualifying health insurance coverage that meets certain federal requirements (see here for more information).
To qualify for a small business health insurance tax credit, you must cover at least 50 percent of premiums for your employees (not including dependents) and have fewer than 25 full-time employees whose average annual wages are less than $58,000 in tax year 2022. Eligible employers can only claim the tax credit for two consecutive years. Employers who are not tax-exempt are eligible for a higher tax credit than employers who are tax-exempt. For more information on how to calculate eligibility for and the amount of the small business health care tax credit, see this reference from the Internal Revenue Service. Small businesses can claim the credit on your annual income tax return, using Form 8941. Tax-exempt employers can claim the tax credit as a refundable credit by filing Form 990-T with an attached Form 8491. (IRS, Small Business Health Care Tax Credit and the SHOP Marketplace; IRS, 2022 Instructions for Form 8941).