Texas employers can save hundreds of millions of dollars by utilizing the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). In Fiscal Year 2008, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) assisted businesses by identifying nearly $154 million in potential tax savings, which are available to employers who hire job seekers from qualified targeted populations.

“It’s an especially good time for employers to take advantage of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit,” said TWC Chairman Tom Pauken. “This incentive allows them to benefit from federal tax savings, improve their bottom lines and boost the current economic climate.”

WOTC is a credit of up to $2,400 per qualifying employee. It is designed to encourage employers to hire new employees from nine targeted groups of qualified job seekers who may face barriers to employment, including:

• Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients
• Veterans, which includes a specific subgroup for disabled veterans
• Ex-offenders
• Designated community residents
• Vocational rehabilitation referrals
• Summer youth
• Food stamp recipients
• Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients
• Long-term Family Assistance recipients

Employers who hire disabled U.S. military veterans who have military service-related disabilities may receive up to $4,800 in tax credits.

Employers who hire from families who have received long-term TANF benefits may be eligible for up to $9,000 per employee in tax credits over two years. Long-term Family Assistance recipients must have entered employment after December 31, 2006, and before September 1, 2011, for employers to be eligible.

Although nearly $154 million in qualified tax savings is significant, only 3 percent of Texas’ 447,554 employers took advantage of WOTC for FY 2008. To help employers recognize WOTC-qualified job applicants, TWC mails conditional certifications to job seekers, who can then take the forms to job interviews. They can show employers they have the opportunity for potential tax savings if the job seekers are hired and are in one of the nine qualifying targeted groups.

Applications for the credits can be submitted year-round to TWC’s WOTC Unit for certification. All applications must be postmarked no later than 28 days from the qualifying worker’s start date.

Employers seeking more information about WOTC and TWC’s WOTC Employer Packet may visit www.texasworkforce.org or call TWC’s WOTC Unit at 1-800-695-6879. Information also is available at www.irs.gov.