The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit designed to benefit businesses that hire individuals who are in “targeted groups” that have historically found it difficult to obtain employment. The WOTC benefits both employers and employees as it helps people in difficult circumstances find jobs. As an employer, you can hire as many qualified employees as you want. The IRS and Department of Labor have complete information about the WOTC.
Obtaining Certification For a Work Opportunity Tax Credit
Before you can claim this tax credit, you must obtain certification that the person you’ve hired is a member of one of the targeted groups listed below. The first step is to file Form 8850, a pre-screening form within 28 days of the eligible employee starting work.
Limitations on Credits
The amount of the credit is limited to business income tax liability or the amount of social security tax owed.
Claiming the Credit
What are the Targeted Groups?
The Internal Revenue Service provides guidelines regarding who qualified as a member of a targeted group. For you to be eligible for this tax credit, you’ll have to hire people from one or more of these groups.
A qualified long-term unemployment recipient is someone who has been unemployed for at least 27 consecutive weeks. To qualify, they must have received unemployment benefits for at least part of this period.
A qualified ex-felon is someone who is hired within a year of being convicted of a felony or released from prison after serving time for a felony.
Recipient of Long-Term Family Assistance
A long-term family assistance recipient is a member of a family who fits into one of several categories. They must have received assistance under an IV-A program for at least the last 18 months; for 18 months beginning after 8/5/97, or they are no longer eligible for this assistance because a state or federal law limited the maximum time they could receive these payments. For the latter, cessation of payments must have been within the last 2 years.
Designated Community Resident
A Designated Community Resident (DCR) must be between the ages of 18 and 40, reside in an empowerment community, an enterprise community, or a renewal community. These are all federally designated locations with high levels of poverty and economic distress. They must remain in one of these areas after being hired.
Supplemental Security Income Recipient
A qualified Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Recipient is someone who has received SSI benefits within 60 days of being hired.
Vocational Rehabilitation Referral
To qualify as a vocational rehabilitation referral, someone must have a physical or mental disability and presently or previously receiving services from a Department of Veteran’s Affairs program, an Employment Network Plan under the Ticket to Work program or a state plan approved under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Recipient
Qualified SNAP recipients are between the ages of 18 and 39. They or a member of their family must have received SNAP benefits for 6 months or for a minimum of 3 of the last 5 months.
Summer Youth Employee
A qualified summer youth employee must be at least 16 and under 18, employed only between May 1 and September 15. They must also reside in an Empowerment Zone, Renewal Community, or a Renewal Community.
The WOTC Can Help Your Business Save on Taxes
The WOTC can help businesses save money on taxes while also providing jobs to people in targeted groups. If you want to claim this credit, make sure you hire employees who qualify. If you need help understanding the WOTC or any other tax credits that could benefit your business, you may want to consult with a professional.
The tax credit experts at Incentax help businesses take advantage of all possible tax credits. To learn more about our services, contact us.