Interpreter Services

Question: How should we quantify community benefit related to language services provided through our clinics? We have seen the guidance that only services provided above the legal requirement would qualify as community benefit. However, we are having a tough time quantifying where the legal requirement really ends, especially with respect to language services provided to our refugee population (many languages, relatively small population).

Recommendation: The IRS states in its final regulations implementing financial assistance policy (FAP) requirements for tax-exempt hospitals that those organizations must provide written translations of FAP documents in every language spoken by each limited English proficiency (LEP) language group that constitutes the lesser of either 1,000 individuals or 5 percent of the community served by the hospital, or the population likely to be encountered by the hospital. The regulations go on to state that a hospital may determine the percentage or number of LEP individuals in the hospital's community or likely to be affected or encountered by the hospital using any reasonable method. This threshold is based on existing HHS guidance.

We recommend using this threshold to determine if your translation or interpreter services may be reported as community benefit. If you are assisting LEP groups whose numbers fall below this threshold in your community you may report those translation or interpreter services.  Services for LEP groups whose numbers are above this threshold in your community would be considered the cost of doing business.

(Updated November 2015)

Please Take Note: The information provided does not constitute legal or tax advice. The material is provided for informational/educational purposes only. Please consult with counsel regarding your organization's particular circumstances.