If you’re a business owner, be aware that a recent tax law extended a credit for hiring individuals from one or more targeted groups. Employers can qualify for a valuable tax credit known as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). The WOTC was set to expire on December 31, 2019. But a new law passed late last year, providing a WOTC extension through December 31, 2020.
Generally, an employer is eligible for the credit for qualified wages paid to qualified members of these targeted groups:
For each employee, there’s a minimum requirement that the employee has completed at least 120 hours of service for the employer. The credit isn’t available for certain employees who are related to the employer or work more than 50% of the time outside of a trade or business of the employer (for example, a maid working in the employer’s home). Additionally, the work opportunity tax credit program generally isn’t available for employees who’ve previously worked for the employer.
There are different rules and credit amounts for certain employees. The maximum credit available for the first-year wages is $2,400 for each employee, $4,000 for long-term family assistance recipients, and $4,800, $5,600 or $9,600 for certain veterans. Additionally, for long-term family assistance recipients, there’s a 50% credit for up to $10,000 of second-year wages, resulting in a total maximum credit, over two years, of $9,000.
For summer youth employees, the wages must be paid for services performed during any 90-day period between May 1 and September 15. The maximum WOTC credit available for summer youth employees is $1,200 per employee.
Because of these rules, there may be circumstances when the employer might elect not to have the WOTC extension apply. There are some additional rules that, in limited circumstances, prohibit the credit or require an allocation of it. Contact us with questions or for more information about your situation.