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What is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)?
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal income tax credit designed to help people gain on-the-job experience and
achieve better employment outcomes. The WOTC program offers federal tax credits to employers as an incentive to hire people in several specific target groups.
Who qualifies for the WOTC?
WOTC applies only to new employees. The new employee must belong to one of the following target groups:
- TANF Recipients: a member of a family who has received or is receiving Temporary
Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or Aid to Families with Dependent Children AFDC) or a successor program. Employee must have received benefits for at least 9 of the last 18 months ending on the hiring date.
- Veterans: a veteran AND a member of a family that has received food stamps for
at least 3 months in the last 15 months ending on the hiring date. Disabled Veterans: a veteran who is entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability and has a hiring date not more than one year after discharge or release from active duty, or has been unemployed for a period or periods totaling at least six months during the one-year period ending on the date of hire.
- Unemployed Veteran: a veteran unemployed at least four weeks or six
months or more in the year prior to being hired.
- Ex-Felons: convicted of a felony or released from prison for a felony within one
year of the date of hire.
- Vocational Rehabilitation Referrals: has a disability serious enough to be a
barrier to employment AND is referred to an employer upon completion of or while receiving rehabilitation services under a State rehabilitation plan or a program approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Services must have been received no longer than 2 years before the Hire Date.
- Food Stamp Recipients: 18-39 years old AND a member of a family that has received food stamps for the last 6 months or received food stamps for at least 3 of the last 5 months, but is no longer eligible to receive them.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Recipients: an individual who received SSI
benefits for any month within the last 60 days ending on the hire date.
- Long-term Family Assistance Recipients (LTFA): an individual may be certified as
an LTFA recipient if he/she is a member of a family that:
- Received TANF payments for at least 18 consecutive months ending on the hiring
- Received such family assistance for a total of at least 18 months (whether or not consecutive) after August 5, 1997 if the individual is hired within two years after the date that the 18 month total is reached or;
- Stopped being eligible for assistance after August 5, 1997 due to federal or state law limits and the individual is hired not more than two years after such eligibility for assistance ends.
Long-term Unemployed Recipient (LTUR): An individual hired after December 31, 2015 who is in a period of unemployment that is not less than 27 consecutive weeks, and includes a period (which may be less than 27 consecutive weeks) in which the individual received unemployment compensation under state or federal law.
How Much Does an Employer Save with WOTC?
Employers can claim up to 40% of the first $6,000 in qualified first-year wages for a maximum credit of $2,400 per new hire.
Calculation of WOTC tax credit
The tax credit for WOTC new hires except LTFA is:
- 25% for those employed at least 120 hrs (maximum credit $1,500);
- 40% for those employed at least 400 hrs ( maximum credit $2,400); and
- No credit allowed for second-year wages
For Long-Term Family Assistance -- tax credits can be earned for the first two
years of employment, wages are capped at $10,000:
- 40%, for those employed at least 400 hours the first -year ($4,000 maximum credit);
- 50% for those employed at least 400 hours the second year ($5,000 maximum credit);
- Maximum credit of $9,000;
For Disabled Veterans discharged within a year, wages are capped at $12,000:
- 25%, for those employed at least 120 hrs but less than 400 hours ($3,000 maximum credit);
- 40%, for those employed at least 400 hours ($4,800 maximum credit);
For Unemployed Disabled Veterans -- wages are capped at $24,000:
- 25%, for those employed at least 120 hrs but less than 400 hours ($6,000 maximum credit);
- 40%, for those employed at least 400 hours ($9,600 maximum credit);
For Unemployed Veterans -- wages are capped at $14,000:
- 25%, for those employed at least 120 hrs but less than 400 hours ($3,500 maximum credit);
- 40%, for those employed at least 400 hours ($5,600 maximum credit);
No credit allowed for employees who work less than 120 hours.
How does an employer apply for the credits?
1. Complete BOTH SIDES of the IRS Form 8850,
"Work Opportunity Credit Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request". The job applicant should complete the front side, and the employer or representative must complete the back side of the form on or before the job offer date.
The 8850 form must be complete in every detail.
Note: This document must be entered or uploaded in the eWOTC system or mailed to the WOTC Office at the DWD address below within 28 days of the job start date or the application will be denied (no exceptions).
The IRS requires original signatures, therefore, no faxes or photocopies of the forms are allowed. (IRS Form 8850)
2. Complete the
ETA Form 9061 (Individual Characteristics form) if the job applicant does not have a completed ETA Form 9062 from a service provider. Client service providers may provide job applicants with ETA Form 9062,
"Conditional Certification", identifying them as a member of a WOTC target
Job applicants would then give this form to the potential employer to complete their portion of the form.
- Employer/Representatives using Form ETA 9061 must staple reasonable eligibility
documentation of a target group to this form, or provide reasonable audit trail information in response No. 19 on the form.
(ETA Form 9061)
- When Conditional Certification form
ETA 9062 is used, the state or delegated agency representative providing service to the target group applicant must sign it. Employee would then provide this signed form to the employer. With the agency signature, no other documentation is required.(ETA Form 9062)
Where to get documentation (Conditional Certification)
Many applicants have documentation of their eligibility; others may obtain confidential documentation about themselves from the relevant government or private non-profit service agency,
You can ask the local agency (Job Placement, Counselor, Social Worker, Parole Officer, etc.) who has provided services to the applicant, to sign the Conditional Certification. When a conditional certification is obtained, no other documentation is required.
Agencies having signature authority
Any representative of the Department of Workforce Development; Job Centers, DVR or County Departments of Social Services or grantee agencies of the department. The Department of Corrections staff as well as many local agencies has authority to sign WOTC Conditional
Certifications for their eligible clients.
3. Return all completed forms:
IRS 8850 and Individual Characteristics
ETA Form 9061 or if you received a completed Conditional Certification
ETA Form 9062 to your local Job
Center or mail to:
Department of Workforce Development (DWD)
Federal Tax Credits, Rm. G100
201 E. Washington Ave., PO Box 7972
Madison WI 53707-7972
How to Claim the WOTC Tax 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 1-800-829-1040.
Questions and Assistance
For assistance contact your local Wisconsin Job Center.