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By Eileen AJ Connelly, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Senate leaders are countering the effort to repeal the new health care law by calling attention to small businesses tax credits also contained in the legislation.

The Senate's top seven Democrats are sending a letter Friday to the CEOs of the nation's two biggest tax preparation companies, H&R Block Inc. and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. asking them to remind small businesses that they can claim for health insurance they provide to employees.

The letter, also being sent to professional organizations for tax preparers, comes two days after House Republicans voted to repeal the health care law enacted last year, claiming that it will cost jobs.

Despite Internal Revenue Service notification that they're eligible to claim up to 35% of insurance costs, the letter says many small businesses are unaware they qualify.

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The credits are available to businesses with 25 or fewer full time workers and average wages of less than $50,000. Businesses who employ part-time staff can have a larger number of workers on the payroll and still qualify.

The letter cites an example provided by the IRS that says a restaurant with 40 part-time employees could receive up to $28,000 in tax credits to help cover the cost of providing health insurance. It states that nearly 1.2 million small businesses will be able to claim the credits this year.

Signing the letter are Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. and Mark Begich, D-Ark.

More details about the credits are available on the IRS website,

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