Senator Tom Udall Introduces Bill to Extend Parts of WOTC Through 2018

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on June 11th, 2015

Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico has reintroduced legislation that would extend the Work Opportunity Tax Credit’s veteran target groups through 2018 (and retroactively to January 1, 2014).  The bill would not extend non-veteran target groups.

Read the bill here.

And, from the Senator’s website:

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced that he has reintroduced legislation to extend and streamline hiring incentives for unemployed and disabled veterans. The VOW to Hire Heroes Extension Act of 2015 would renew and extend the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which provided employers with tax credits for hiring unemployed or disabled veterans until its expiration in 2014. Udall said the bill is good for veterans, businesses and New Mexico’s economy. For example, some veterans have been overlooked for jobs because they have limited private sector experience — but their skills and discipline make them valuable, fast-learning employees.

Udall is a longtime champion of initiatives to hire veterans. The first piece of legislation he successfully passed in the U.S. Senate expanded tax incentives for employers who hired recently returned veterans. Udall cosponsored the original VOW to Hire Heroes Act to build on that progress, and it was signed into law in 2011. This new bill would renew and extend the program so more unemployed and disabled veterans can find good jobs.

“Transitioning out of military service and back to the civilian workforce can be daunting, especially for veterans who were disabled overseas,” Udall said. “Our veterans have sacrificed for our country, and we owe it to them to help make sure they can transition smoothly back into civilian life. I was proud to champion the original VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which helped thousands of veterans apply their valuable skills to civilian positions. Extending this program will show that our country remains committed to veterans and their families, while helping businesses find good employees and boosting New Mexico’s economy.”

The VOW Act would extend the program through 2018 and simplify the WOTC application process to ensure that paperwork hurdles do not create disincentives that prevent businesses or veterans from taking advantage of the important benefit.

Specifically, the VOW Act would:

- Extend the veterans hiring tax credit for 3 years.

- Simplify the certification of veterans’ status.

- Make the credit available against payroll taxes in certain circumstances.

- Ensure parity for tax exemptions in U.S. territories and possessions.

- Require the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor to report annually to Congress on the cost-effectiveness of the credit increasing veterans’ employment.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is leading the legislation, which is also supported by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Calif.-26) introduced the House companion legislation of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act.

 

IRS Revises Form 8850

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on April 22nd, 2015

It is time to think about updating your Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) pre-screening documents.

The IRS’ latest revision to Form IRS 8850, “Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit” is dated March 2015.  I do not notice any material changes to the form.

Keep alert for possible instructions from the IRS regarding deadlines for switching over.  In the past, the IRS has continued to allow the use of older versions of the form, although this can be problematic if the program’s eligibility criteria have changed.  In this case, however, there are no program changes reflected on the form.

Interestingly, the IRS issued this revision during a period when the WOTC program itself has not yet been reauthorized by Congress for 2015.

For my firm’s clients, we will be updating your screening materials in a manner convenient for you, as you continue to use your current stock of screening packets.

 

Florida Enterprise Zone Program May be Allowed to Expire

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on April 3rd, 2015

From the Florida Times Union,

The state Enterprise Zone program is scheduled to end at the end of the year, according to state law. So far, no lawmakers have filed bills that would keep the program going, although House Bill 7067 would allow local governments to control similar programs without state help or money.

“They’re going to basically push it down to the cities as an unfunded mandate,” said Rep. Reggie Fullwood, D-Jacksonville, a champion of the program.

Read more here.

 

Opportunity Alert! IRS Notice 2015-13 Providing Transition Relief for Employers Submitting Late WOTC Applications

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on February 19th, 2015

We have been waiting for this!

The IRS has released IRS Notice 2015-13, which provides transition relief given the late retroactive renewal of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program in December 2014.

Notice 2015-13 waves the 28-day deadline for submitting IRS Form 8850 (the WOTC Pre-screen Notice) for qualifying employees hired in 2014.  The extended deadline for submitting the applications for affected employees is now April 30, 2015.  From the Notice:

Because [Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014] extended the WOTC retroactively for 2014 for members of targeted groups, employers need additional time to comply with the requirements of § 51(d)(13)(A). Accordingly, a taxable employer that hired a member of a targeted group (as defined in §§ 51(d)(2) through (10)), or a qualified tax-exempt organization that hired a qualified veteran described in § 51(d)(3), on or after January 1, 2014, and before January 1, 2015, will be considered to have satisfied the requirements of § 51(d)(13)(A)(ii) if it submits the completed Form 8850 to the appropriate DLA to request certification not later than April 30, 2015.

A timely request for certification does not eliminate the need for the employer to receive a certification before claiming the credit.

What does this mean in practical terms?

    • Employers who were sitting on the fence in 2014 may now submit WOTC applications for employees hired in 2014.
    • Moreover, employers who were actively screening and submitting WOTC applications during 2014 — but who declined to submit one or more applications because the 28-day deadline had been missed — may now reconsider and submit those “late” applications.
    • All applications for employees hired in 2014 must be submitted on or before April 30, 2015.
 

WOTC EXTENDED Through End of December

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on December 20th, 2014

On Friday Pres. Obama signed HR 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 into law.  While  employers can be glad their efforts to utilize the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and other tax incentives during 2014 were not wasted, we are now faced with a new expiration date approaching in only 12 days.

Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, summarizes our situation and defines our next objective.

We share your disappointment at Congress’ inability to provide more than a one-year extension, which means continued uncertainty for taxpayers who rely on these tax credits in good faith with the aim they were enacted for.

Our immediate goal is to win a WOTC extension for the entire year 2015 on the bill to raise the debt ceiling which will come before Ways and Means in March. If another tax bill moves sooner, for example, raising the gas tax for highway maintenance, we will work to get WOTC included in that bill.

More to follow….

 

WOTC for 2014 Only – If We Can Get It.

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on December 12th, 2014

Last night the House of Representatives passed a massive $1 trillion spending bill, after which House members began skipping town. Unfortunately, the spending bill was viewed as the final hurtle to jump on members’ way to Christmas vacation.

With the House no longer in session, the Senate is left with the option of passing HR 5771 (tax extenders) as it was originally delivered by the House or simply letting it die. Amendments to the bill would require it to go back to the House for approval but that is no longer an option.

If passed by the Senate, HR 5771 will extend WOTC and other tax-extender programs retroactively for 2014 only.  Businesses that relied upon these programs in 2014 would be rewarded for their faithfulness. We are placed on notice, however, that the tax provisions will expire again in less than three weeks.

When Congress convenes again in 2015 it will be with new leadership, with new directives controlled by a new Republican majority in both houses.  Big changes to the tax code have been promised.  If we can rely upon the conversations of 2014, each tax extender will be evaluated on its merits either to be made permanent or to be eliminated.

 

Below you will find last night’s observations from Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition.  We published them here with permission.

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From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>
Date: Thu, December 11, 2014 8:35 pm
Subject: House Passes Omnibus/Senate Plans To Pass Tax Extenders Tomorrow

December 11, 2014
10:10 PM

The House passed the Omnibus 219-206 removing the last obstacle to final adjournment of the 113th Congress. Members are already on their way home.

As predicted, 58 strong conservative Republicans voted against the bill, but 38 Democrats voted with 181 Republicans to make a bare majority.

House adjournment leaves the Senate with no alternative but to pass the tax extenders bill received from the House, H.R. 5771, with a one year extension of current-law WOTC and VOW To Hire Heroes Act veterans tax credits for 2014.

The ABLE Act authorizing tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities is part of H.R. 5771.

While Senate passage is 99 percent assured, any senator can hold up action on the Omnibus and tax extenders, requiring the Majority Leader to file cloture delaying action for 30 hours of debate.

Normally, comity prevails in the closing hours so the Senate should finish business tomorrow.

If the Senate passes H.R. 5771 tomorrow, the effective date of the Act will be the date the President signs it into law. As IRS is in a hurry, it shouldn’t be long coming but might take a week.

PAUL E SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition

 

 

Senate Action on Extenders Anticipated Wednesday and Thursday

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on December 8th, 2014

Tonight, I am passing along observations from Paul Suplizio about the US Senate’s progress towards a tax-extenders bill.  Additional action on the floor is anticipated by Thursday.  So far, however, Democrat and Republican Senate Leaders have not revealed the nature of any agreements they might have reached.

The following is published here with permission.

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From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>
Date: Mon, December 08, 2014 6:50 pm
Subject: Tax Extenders Bill H.R. 5771 Set For Senate Action

December 8, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called up H.R. 5771 for its first reading tonight, a step preparatory to bringing the bill to a vote.

Senators Reid and McConnell aren’t saying whether they’ve been able to put a deal together to cover 2015. Whatever they’ve decided, it’s likely they’ll ask their caucuses for the green light at their regular meeting tomorrow.

One of their tasks is to resolve changes other senators want to make to the bill; if they’re successful, H.R. 5771 can pass by unanimous consent tomorrow.

If unanimous consent is blocked, Reid has several options but it’s likely the bill (amended or not amended) won’t pass till Thursday.

We will keep you informed.

PAUL E SUPLZIO
President, WOTC Coalition

 

Call Your US Senators NOW!

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on December 3rd, 2014

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on (and pass) HR 5771– the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014.  This will be Congress’ first solid step in some time toward passage of tax extenders.  HOWEVER, in its current form the bill’s provisions fall short of expectations.

HR 5771 provides for a ONE-YEAR retroactive extension.  That means that if the bill were also passed by the Senate without amendment, WOTC and other tax extenders would expire again on December 31, 2014 – just 28 days from now.

Fortunately, the Senate already has shown broad bipartisan support for the EXPIRE Act, which provides a 2-year retroactive extension.  The EXPIRE Act additionally would expand WOTC eligibility to include workers who have been unemployed long-term.

Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, is urging coalition members and other interested parties to lobby their Senators.  Ask them to amend HR 5771 with the language of the EXPIRE Act when the bill arrives from the House.

The following is published here with permission:
 

*******************
From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>
Subject: House To Vote This Afternoon On Tax Extenders And ABLE Act

December 3, 2014

The House will vote this afternoon on passage of H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, and H.R. 647, the ABLE Act of 2014.

H.R. 5771 extends expired tax provisions, including present-law WOTC, VOW To Hire Heroes Act veterans tax credits, Empowerment Zone tax credits, and the Indian Employment Tax Credit, for 2014 retroactive to January 1.

H.R. 647, the ABLE Act of 2014, provides tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities, and allows them to work without losing certain benefits.

Both bills enjoy bi-partisan support and passage is expected.

Under the Rule, the text of H.R. 647 will be added to that of H.R. 5771 after passage—see House Report 113-643, p.2 at the Rules Committee web site, www.rules.house.gov.  Thus, the two bills will be combined and sent to the Senate as a single bill, H.R. 5771, upon passage in the House.

Right now we should be lobbying our senators to amend H.R. 5771 with the text of the Senate’s bi-partisan EXPIRE Act, when H.R. 5771 comes over from the House.  This would provide a two-year, retroactive extension through 2015 of all expired tax provisions, with WOTC expanded to include long-term unemployed workers.

We understand disability advocates will be working for improvements to the House version of the ABLE Act.  Any improvements could be included in the Senate amendment to H.R. 5771.

PAUL E SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition

 

IRS Pressing Congress to Pass Tax Extenders Before End of November

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on October 8th, 2014

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D, OR) regarding the expired tax extenders:

To avoid . . . serious problems, I respectfully urge you and other Members of Congress to address this issue expeditiously…. it would be detrimental to the entire 2015 tax filing season and to millions of taxpayers if Congress fails to provide clear policy direction before the end of November.

While Commissioner Koskinen’s letter maintained neutrality on the policy question of whether or not to renew the tax extenders, he urgently states that a clear decision needs to be quickly made.  It should be noted that he is writing to Chairman Ron Wyden, whose Committee has already come out strongly in favor of passing an extenders bill.  Indeed, the Senate itself favored the EXPIRE act in a vote of 96 to 3 when contemplating cloture back in May.

While asking Chairman Wyden to communicate this urgent request to his colleagues, Commissioner Koskinen also confirms he is personally contacting Senator Orin Hatch (D, Utah) and Congressmen Dave Camp (R, Mich) and Sandy Levin (D, Mich).  Senator Hatch is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. Congressmen Camp and Levin are the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

I am getting the impression that they are, in fact, listening.

 

 

House Republicans will Determine WOTC Future – State-by-State Lobbying Plan

Written by Vaughn Hromiko on October 6th, 2014

If you have been following WOTC in the news lately, there hasn’t been much to follow.  The political process has been occupied elsewhere.  You might, however, have notice a few interesting odds and ends.

For example, ADP has a new mobile tool for WOTC screening.”  Click here.

Max Shenker of The EZ Policy Blog has also passed along a few interesting WOTC-related stories.

 “The National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) is highlighting a new study from an economist with the Wharton School of business showing that states collectively save $1.7 billion a year because of WOTC.”  Here.

Senator Hatch (Republican of Utah) predicts that tax-extenders will pass during the lame-duck session after the November 4 elections.

“[M]ake no mistake, Republicans want to pass this legislation. We know how important these extenders are to the business community. We’re going to get it done. I’m confident that it will pass, likely during the lame duck session after the midterms.”

And, the “IRS Wants Extenders Passed With Minimal Changes” in order to minimize potential complications for the upcoming 2015 tax-filing season.

Each of these items is uplifting in its own WOTC-sort-of way.

If you want to actually do something about passing a WOTC extension, Paul Suplizio of the WOTC Coalition offers some specific direction today.  The following is published here with permision.

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From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>
Date: Mon, October 06, 2014 7:56 am
Subject: WOTC Coalition Lobbying During Election Period 

Every member of the House not retiring will be campaigning at home for re-election this month, the best time to visit and get their attention.

Attached is our state-by-state target list for lobbying House Republicans during the election period. We’ve included senators you’ll need to lobby as well, but give priority to House Republicans because they’ll determine the future of WOTC.

We cannot win a temporary extension after the election, or permanent extension in the tax reform bill to be written in the new Congress, without support of the Republican-controlled House.

In every state our Coalition has members who know how to be effective, and you are the people congressmen have a duty to listen to when you have a legislative interest. They will be home the entire month so go around to see them in their district office or at town meetings and campaign events and make the case for WOTC.

Start with your own congressman if he or she is a Republican—you don’t need to look at the lobbying plan for their name—you know who they are.

If you are a firm or organization that operates statewide, go to the target list for your state and make an effort to see those congressmen on the list.

If you are a firm or organization with branches or operations in more than one state, start with the state where you are headquartered, then work on the target list for states where you have a significant presence. So long as your organization has an impact on people in the district, you can represent their interest when speaking to their congressman.

Here’s the type message to deliver in your own words:

“We are concerned because Congress has yet to act on a tax extenders bill renewing programs like the work opportunity tax credit that have expired. Many of these programs have been part of the tax code for two or three decades, like WOTC, and Congress has always renewed them retroactively when they expire. But this year only the Senate has taken up and approved a bi-partisan bill on a first vote of 95-3. The House has passed bills for tax measures to be included in future tax reform, but has done nothing on the most immediate need—a bill to renew WOTC and other expired provisions.”

“A tax reform bill isn’t around the corner—it’s going to take all of next year and perhaps longer to finish. In the meantime, the tax filing season is almost here and the House, which has the constitutional duty to initiate revenue measures, has so far done nothing. This defeats the purpose of WOTC which is to help veterans, the disabled, the homeless, long-term unemployed, at-risk youth, low-income seniors, ex-felons, welfare and food stamp recipients find jobs and save the government money at the same time.”

“Studies have shown that savings on welfare, food stamps, and lower incarceration alone will more than pay for the entire cost of WOTC. It’s the most cost-effective jobs program because it operates through private sector employers and the government’s cost is capped so employers pay all but around $1,400 of compensation cost for each hire. Will you commit to work with House leaders to make passing an extenders bill that renews WOTC top priority when you return after the election? This is what we are asking and what the Congress needs to get done.”

We’ve enclosed the latest fiscal year 2013 Department of Labor statistics on job placements by target group for each state so you’ll be able to say to what extent your state participates.

We’ll be in touch with you daily to coordinate efforts on primary targets like House leaders and Ways and Means members. We can also answer questions your congressman may raise, and welcome any feedback from your contacts.

PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition

WOTC Coalition Republican Lobbying Targets For Election Period 2014

WOTC State Statistics For FY 2013