Empowering Communities through Employment: Unlock the Potential of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit
Imagine you’re a small business owner looking to expand your workforce, but you’re also keen on making a positive impact in your community. Did you know there’s a tax credit that can help you achieve both goals? The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is designed to support employers like you who hire individuals from specific groups that face significant barriers to employment. Extended through 2025, this program presents a unique opportunity for businesses to benefit while creating inclusive job opportunities.
The WOTC applies to a diverse range of individuals, includingthose receiving:
- long-term family assistance,
- long-term unemployment benefits,
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits,
- Supplemental Security Income, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
Other eligible groups include:
- formerly incarcerated individuals,
- qualified unemployed veterans (including disabled veterans),
- designated community residents living in Empowerment Zones or Rural Renewal Counties,
- people referred to vocational rehabilitation programs, and
- summer youth employees residing in Empowerment Zones.
Certification requirement: Before claiming credit, employers must obtain certification to verify an individual’s eligibility. To do this, submit IRS Form 8850, Pre-screening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit, to your state workforce agency within 28 days after the eligible worker begins employment. Do not submit this form to the IRS and direct any questions about processing Form 8850 to your state workforce agency.
Figuring and claiming the credit: Once you have received Form 8850 certification, you can calculate the credit using Form 5884, Work Opportunity Credit, and claim it on Form 3800, General Business Credit. The credit is generally based on wages paid to eligible workers during their first year of employment.
Special rule for tax-exempt organizations: Tax-exempt organizations can claim the credit exclusively for hiring qualified veterans who start working for the organization before 2026. After receiving Form 8850 certification, these organizations can claim the credit against payroll taxes using Form 5884-C, Work Opportunity Credit for Qualified Tax-Exempt Organizations. The IRS recommends that qualified tax-exempt employers do not reduce their required deposits while awaiting the tax credit.
Limitations on the credits: For taxable businesses, the credit is limited to the company’s income tax liability, with unused credit subject to standard carry-back and carry-forward rules. For qualified tax-exempt organizations, the credit is limited to the amount of the employer’s share of Social Security tax owed on wages paid to qualifying employees.
In conclusion, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a win-win for both businesses and communities. By leveraging this program, employers can support individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them overcome obstacles while simultaneously strengthening their workforce and contributing to a more inclusive society.
***Disclaimer: This communication is not intended as tax advice, and no tax accountant -client relationship results**