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What Is Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit

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The Work Opportunity Tax Credit Benefits Employers

Employers can hire from the following target groups:

  • Veterans
  • Summer Youth Employees

For more information about the WOTC target groups, please click here.

The employee groups targeted by WOTC tax credits have had significant barriers to employment. How can you decrease barriers to employment in your hiring practices?Check out our Ten Tips for Making Your Hiring Practices More Accessible.

What To Know About The Basics Of The Wotc

In short, the WOTC is a type of federal tax credit thats available to any employer who hires employees belonging to ten specifically targeted groups that are known to face significant barriers to gaining employment. The WOTC is provided under section 51 of the Internal Revenue Code and is available specifically for wages paid to qualified individuals who start work on or before December 31, 2025.

Whats The Maximum Work Opportunity Tax Credit Available

The amount of WOTC your business is eligible for when hiring employees from any of the targeted groups noted above can vary depending on several factors. However, the typical tax credit amount you can receive is somewhere between 25% to 40% of the employees wages earned during their first year of employment with your company. In many cases, employers will be eligible for 25% of their employees wages if they worked for at least 120 hours during that first year and 40% of their wages if they worked 400 hours or more during that same period.

A maximum tax credit given is typically around $2,400 per qualified employee within a company. However, up to $24,000 in wages may be considered when determining the WOTC of certain qualified veterans. Employers should remember that they cannot claim WOTC for any employees that their business or company rehires. If a business cannot use all of the WOTC on their current tax return, taxable employers can carry the current years unused WOTC back one year and forward 20 years.

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Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Tax credits can help businesses reduce their tax liability which can be helpful to the bottom line. That’s true for the work opportunity tax credit or any other type of business tax credit.

Another advantage of the credit has to do with increasing diversity in hiring. From a worker’s perspective, this tax credit could make finding work possible for certain groups that have otherwise been overlooked in the hiring process.

The IRS allows the employer to apply the credit against business income tax liability for the year, with normal carry-forward and carry-back rules applying.

On the other side, the biggest challenge for employers may simply be meeting the certification and filing requirements. While the paperwork involved isn’t complicated, employers have to ensure that they’re filing forms correctly and on time to pre-screen and certify workers initially. They also have to keep accurate records of their employees’ hours and wages earned in the first year of work to claim the credit.

Delaware Department Of Labor


The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a federal tax credit that offers an incentive for private sector businesses to hire individuals from identified targeted groups that have consistently faced significant barriers to employment in Delaware. The main objective of this program is to enable the targeted employees to gradually move from economic dependency into self-sufficiency, gainful employment, and on-the-job experience. WOTC joins other workforce programs that help incentivize workplace diversity, create high-performance workplaces, and facilitate access to good jobs for American workers.

The Recovery Acts two temporary target groups Unemployed Veteran & Disconnected Youth were effective December 31, 2008 through December 31, 2010. We are no longer accepting applications for these two expired Recovery Act groups and all applications received with a hire date of 01/01/2011 or later will be denied for these two target groups that expired 12/31/2010.

The new employee must belong to one of the following WOTC Target groups:

Target Group

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Tax Credit Cuts And Changes

From time to time, the government makes changes to tax credits. Some programs are extended or expire after a certain period of time. And some have income thresholds that go up or down from one year to the next.

With the Earned Income Tax Credit, for instance, the 2021 tax credit threshold is $21,430 if youre single and you have no children. For the 2022 tax year, the credit is worth $16,480. To get the credit, your earned income and adjusted gross income cant be higher than that amount.

Congress has the authority to keep or eliminate federal tax credit programs. Two examples include the elimination of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and the Employer Wage Credit for Activated Military Reservists. The former was a federal tax credit that benefited employers who hired veterans, ex-cons and other groups of people who have traditionally had a difficult time entering certain workplaces. The latter helped small businesses who paid National Guard and Reserve members part of their regular salaries even after they were called to serve.

Keep in mind that expiring or eliminated programs can be extended retroactively, letting taxpayers claim certain credits that have already expired. When changes are made, families and businesses are affected in a variety of ways. In some cases, they can be left at a financial disadvantage when there are major adjustments.

How Long Must The Individual Remain On The Job To Provide The Employer With A Tax Credit

Target groups A through H, and L have a two-tier retention period 400 hours for a 40 percent tax credit, at least 120 hours but less than 400 hours for a 25 percent tax credit.

Target group I must be retained 180 days or 400 hours. The tax credits vary. See the question above, What is the amount of the credit available through WOTC? for more information.

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Is The Wotc Tax Credit Refundable

In a previous post, we talked about the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction. When it comes to a tax credit, if you have enough of them, they can drop the amount of money that you owe to the IRS below zero. This means the IRS could owe you a refund.

The Congressional Research Service lays out all the details, but the bottom line is that the WOTC is non-refundable except in certain, very specific circumstances. Non-refundable means that once you hit zero with your tax bill, thats it for the year.

What Do I Need To Do

Maximize Your Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)


When an employer believes that a prospective employee meets the qualifications for WOTC, on or prior to the date the job offer is made, the following steps should be taken:

  • The employer completes the employer section of the IRS FORM 8850, “Work Opportunity Credit Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request” and then has the job seeker complete the first page. Make certain that the applicant signs the form. Signatures must be original
  • Complete either the Department of Labor ETA Form 9061 or ETA 9062.
  • Mail the completed IRS 8850 and ETA 9061 or ETA 9062 to your state/local WOTC coordinator within 28 days after the employee’s first day at work and mail them to the address indicated below. The postmark will be used to establish the date of submission.
  • Applications may be submitted online. Please submit an inquiry to
  • Jobseeker – Complete forms IRS 8850 and ETA 9061. If an individual falls into the Long-term Unemployed Recipient group, also complete ETA 9175. Also, complete Letter of Introduction to Employers about WOTC.

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    What Does The Wotc Do For Employees

    Please note that qualified employees of the WOTC program do not receive extra money from belonging to a special category and meeting WOTC requirements. However, it can significantly increase their attractiveness to prospective employers and raise their chances of being hired. Depending on the job theyre performing, the hours they work, and the target group they belong to, the amount of tax credit an employer can receive by hiring them can usually range from $1,500 to $9,600 per qualified individual. This factor provides employers with a solid incentive to hire individuals belonging to these specific groups, even if they dont possess the same level of experience or skills as other applicants.

    What Is Wotc The Work Opportunity Tax Credit

    • Slides: 8

    What is WOTC? The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a Federal hiring incentive program that rewards employers for hiring individuals from certain target demographics that have been identified by the Department of Labor. Created in 1996 as a successor to the Targeted Jobs Credit Periodic extension by Congress is required Currently extended through 2019 Federal program administered by the States +People +Innovation +Results

    Fact: SNAP recipients are the most commonly qualified category. Why WOTC? Purpose The WOTC program encourages employers to hire and retain individuals from target groups facing significant barriers to employment. Availability The credit is available to tax paying businesses in the United States, U. S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. There is no limit on the number of employees that can be claimed for the credit. ROI Employers may earn up to $2, 400 -$9, 600 per qualified employee. WOTC is a dollar for dollar reduction of your federal tax liability. +People +Innovation +Results

    Target Groups Veterans Food Stamp Recipients Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Summer Youth Ex-Felons Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Referrals Long-Term Family Assistance Recipients Supplemental Security Income Recipients Designated Community Residents Long-Term Unemployed Most categories have a maximum credit amount of $2, 400 per certified hire. The maximum tax credit available for qualified veterans is $9, 600 per new hire. +People +Innovation +Results

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    How To Qualify A Worker

    During the hiring process, before or on the day the employee begins work, the employer and the applicant must complete two forms. If you don’t complete the forms during the hiring process, you won’t be able to get the tax credit.

    First, you and the applicant must complete IRS Form 8850, the IRS pre-screening form. When the job offer is made, the applicant completes the first page showing their eligibility. When the applicant is hired, you as the employer complete the second page giving your information and information on the person hired.

    You and the applicant must also complete DOL Form 9061. The applicant completes the form and the employer verifies the identification documents the person submits. Some applicants may have already completed Conditional Certification DOL Form 9062 instead.

    As soon as the person is hired, you must submit Form 8850 and Form 9061 to the state workforce or employment agency for a determination on the eligibility of this worker for WOTC credit. The forms must be submitted no later than the 28th calendar day after the person begins work.

    Some states allow employers to submit a WOTC application online, Check with your state workforce or employment agency for details on how to submit applications.

    When the state agency certifies the worker’s eligibility status, it sends a determination letter to the employer.

    What Types Of Workers Qualify For Wotc


    Let’s say your business is hiring. The first thing you need to do is determine if a worker you are hiring fits into one of the specific categories that qualify you for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. The categories of workers you can hire to qualify for this tax credit are:

    • Qualified veterans
    • Supplemental security income recipients
    • Summer youth employee
    • Qualified long-term unemployment recipients

    In addition to the general qualifications, there are specific qualifications within each category. This Work Opportunity Tax Credit Eligibility Chart provided by the Department of Labor includes details.

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    Can Family Members Qualify Employers For The Tax Credit

    No tax credit can be claimed for wages paid to relatives. The tax credit is not valid for: son or daughter, stepson or stepdaughter, brother, sister, stepbrother or stepsister, father or mother, stepfather or stepmother, niece or nephew, uncle or aunt, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, descendants of any of the aforementioned, or if the employee resides in the home of the employer.

    How To Claim The Credit

    You file for the credit when you fill out your annual Business Federal Income Tax Forms. In addition to these forms, you will need an IRS 5884 Form and the Tax Credit Certification issued to you by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Tax Credit Unit.

    Any questions regarding the filing of the tax credit with the IRS may be addressed to the IRS website or their help line at .

    Questions and Assistance

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    Work Opportunity Tax Credit

    Program Overview

    The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a federally funded program that reduces the federal tax liability of private for-profit and, in some instances, non-profit employers hiring new employees from eligible target groups. The credit amounts are based upon a percentage of wages paid to and hours worked by properly certified employees.

    The District of Columbia’s Work Opportunity Tax Credit program is funded by a $66,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

    Program Dates: WOTC is usually available to employers on a year-round basis. The current legislative authority ends on December 31, 2025.

    Tax Credit For Hiring Program

    Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Services

    The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a Federal tax credit incentive that employers may receive for hiring individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. The main objective of this program is to enable the targeted employees to gradually move from economic dependency into self-sufficiency as they earn a steady income and become contributing taxpayers, while participating employers are compensated by being able to reduce their federal income tax liability.

    Employers make the hiring decision, and there is no limit to the number of new hires who can qualify the employer for the tax savings, but individuals must be identified as members of one of these targeted groups before a job offer is made. For a list of the targeted groups, go to

    Amount of the Credit

    The amount of the tax credit is based on a percentage of qualified wages paid to the new employee for the first year of employment only . Both the percentage and the cap on qualifying wages vary based on which target group the new employee falls into. For more details on WOTC benefit amounts, go to

    Application Process

    The first step is pre-screening to determine eligibility. The job seeker or the employer must complete the following forms:

    Work Opportunity Tax Credit UnitDepartment of Career ServicesBoston, MA 02114

    More Information

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    Filing To Receive Wotc

    After receiving a certification, employers may file for the tax credit with the IRS. Generally, an employer elects to take the credit by filing IRS Form 3800 and IRS Form 5884. However, a tax-exempt organization that hires an employee in the WOTC veteran target group should use IRS Form 5884-C. Employers also must meet requirements for the Minimum Employment Period, which is the number of hours required to be worked by the employee at least 120 hours in the first year of employment before they can file and qualify for the tax credit.

    What Types Of Workers Are Ineligible For The Wotc

    Anyone who does not fall into the target group categories will not make a business eligible for the WOTC. Additionally, even if they do fall into one of the target groups, the following individuals are ineligible:

    • Your dependents or relatives
    • Majority owners in the company
    • People who were formerly employed by your business, except for summer youth

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    Work Opportunity Tax Credit Services

    Taking advantage of tax credits can be a full-time job. CLA works with employers to identify eligible employees, collect supporting information, submit the required tax forms, and compute the dollar amount of the credit.

    We integrate technological solutions into your hiring process to minimize the time spent collecting the data. Our innovative, automated process will help you maximize your efficiencies.

    Investment advisory services are offered through CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor.

    CliftonLarsonAllen is an independent member of Nexia International, a leading, global network of independent accounting and consulting firms that are members of Nexia International Limited. Nexia International Limited, a company registered in the Isle of Man, does not provide services to clients. Please see the member firm disclaimer for further details.

    CliftonLarsonAllen is a Minnesota LLP, with more than 120 locations across the United States. The Minnesota certificate number is 00963. The California license number is 7083. The Maryland permit number is 39235. The New York permit number is 64508. The North Carolina certificate number is 26858. If you have questions regarding individual license information, please contact .

    What Is Wotc Form 8850

    Work Opportunity Tax Credit In The News

    Form 8850 is a Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit form that is used to certify an employees eligibility for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. The Form 8850 Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request must be completed on or before the employment offer is made and must be signed by the employee and the employer. To be able to claim the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, the employer must submit the completed Form 8850 to State Workforce Agency within 28 days after the individual begins work. Form 8850 is not filed with the IRS. The U.S. Department of Labor may require additional forms.

    The employer must receive a certification from the state workforce agency that the individual is, in fact, a member of a targeted group before claiming the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for the individual. The Department of Labor maintains a list of the name, address, phone and fax numbers, and email address of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit coordinator for each state workforce agency.

    A fast-track certification process applies for certain qualified veterans.

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