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The report, from the Government Accountability Office, found that claims for the small employer health tax credit have continued to be lower than thought eligible by government agency and small business group estimates, limiting the effect of the credit on expanding health insurance coverage through small employers. In 2014, approximately 181,000 employers claimed the credit, down somewhat from 2010. These numbers are relatively low compared to the number of employers eligible for the credit. The GAO issued the report as part of testimony by James R. McTigue Jr., director of strategic issues, during a hearing Tuesday before the House Committee on Small Business’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access.

In 2012, the GAO reported that selected estimates of the number of employers eligible ranged from about 1.4 million to 4 million. In 2010, claims totaled $468 million compared to initial estimates of $2 billion by the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation. Actual claims for the credit in 2013 and 2014 increased slightly to about $511 million and $541 million, respectively.