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March 29, 2017 By Ben Kalb

The Tax and SEO Benefits of Closed Captioning

The tax and SEO benefits of closed captioning.

It’s a win-win for small businesses.

Who would’ve guessed that tax benefits and SEO go together? It’s true for closed captioning. Not only does closed captioning provide accessibility to and benefit a broader audience, but there are several benefits to your business as well—two of which are tax credits and SEO.

TAX BENEFITS

If you want to save your small business some money, providing closed captioning could help. Did you know that the IRS allows a tax credit for small businesses that provide accessibility? And providing closed captions falls under this accessibility category. If you have closed captioned programming, you may be eligible to receive a tax credit for providing accessibility to those who are disabled. It’s called Disabled Access Credit and it’s reported on IRS Form 8826.

Do you qualify? The IRS defines an eligible small business as one that earned $1 million or less or had no more than 30 full-time employees in the year prior to the one for which they’re filing. Such small businesses may receive this tax credit each and every year they incur access expenditures.

Get this: Your small business could qualify to receive a tax credit of up to half of your closed captioning expenses. That means if you’re closed captioning on a regular basis, you may have up to $5,000 in tax credits. Now we’re talking. Of course, every business’s situation is different, so we advise you to consult a tax professional to see if you do, in fact, qualify.

SEO BENEFITS

As if the tax benefits weren’t compelling enough, providing closed captioning is also a huge plus for your SEO and marketing game. In fact, other companies are catching on and studying that when you include closed captions and subtitles on your online videos, you’re actually improving your SEO ranking and engagement.

Let’s use Facebook as an example. By embedding closed captions on your Facebook videos, you’re ensuring that your video’s message is reaching the viewer even during times of silent auto-play. Not only does adding closed captions to Facebook videos increase readability, this increases watch time too and helps grab the attention of viewers who were planning on scrolling by.

Adding closed captioning to your online videos makes a difference on YouTube too. If adding closed captions increases your SEO, then putting in the work to add closed captions to your backlog of YouTube videos is worth your investment as well.

Closed captioning is still one of the best ways to increase SEO. While many businesses view closed captioning as just another federal requirement, studies continue to show that SEO trends and consumer needs both point to closed captioning as an excellent way to to improve your business’s rank in the digital stream.

WIN-WIN FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

If you’re a small business, now is the time to step up your accessibility and provide closed captioning. The ROI is strong and benefits are clear. If you’re looking for tax credit and your SEO could use a little boost, take advantage of closed captioning.

Ben Kalb

Ben is a broadcast engineer and creator of StationDrop. With a longevity in the broadcast industry, over 20 years, Ben has experience with everything from 1” tape reels to completely file-based workflows. Recently, Ben has broken into the world of coffee. Ask him about his latest brew.

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