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Industry Executives Lobby For Health Care Tax Breaks
Leaders of several marketing and ad specialty companies will speak before legislators today on Capitol Hill, lobbying for new tax exemptions tied to health and wellness incentive programs. The effort is being driven by The Incentive Federation, which is hoping Congress will include wellness award exemptions within the much-debated health care reform bills. "The purpose of the session will be to provide information so key staff will be more familiar with the issues," said Sean Roark, vice president. "We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we will see some positive effects."

Currently, U.S. tax law only permits employer and employee exemptions up to $400 annually for products awarded through safety and length of service incentive programs. Roark is hopeful Congress will consider an exemption for wellness programs and decide to adjust the dollar limit to account for changes in cost of living. The $400 maximum has been in place for almost 25 years. "We would like an adjustment that moves with the value of the dollar," said Roark, who will be presenting before legislators.

George Delta, executive director of The Incentive Federation, believes creating a tax exemption for wellness programs would be beneficial to companies and the government. "Recent studies show a direct correlation between wellness incentive programs and improved health results," Delta said. "The Federation is supporting a measure allowing tangible personal property wellness awards valued at up to $400 for each employee that would be nontaxable to the employee and deductible to the employer." Adds Roark: "We’re talking about companies becoming safer and better neighbors and making more money. If they make more money, they’ll be paying more taxes to the government. That’s our point of view."

The Incentive Federation symposium in Washington took place today at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Representatives from Canon U.S.A, Marriott International and Maritz Inc. will also appear.

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