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Senate Finance Committee Reports on Tax Extenders Bill

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Last week, on August 5th, the Senate Finance Committee reported its version of the 2015 tax extenders bill, S 1946, The Tax Extension Relief Act of 2015.

 ”The Committee on Finance, having considered an original bill, S. 1946, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend certain expiring provisions, and for other purposes, reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.”

This bill would authorize the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for 2 additional years, retroactively beginning January 1, 2015.  It would also extend WOTC to cover a new target group — long-term unemployment recipients.

“The term ‘qualified long-term unemployment recipient’ means any individual who is certified by the designated local agency as being in a period of unemployment which (A) is not less than 27 consecutive weeks and (B) includes a period in which the individual was receiving unemployment compensation under State or Federal law.’’

That sounds simple enough.  It will still be some time before we find out where the House of Representatives will stand on the issue.


Here’s the Senate Finance Committee’s page to track this legislation.  Click through to find the legislative text, the Committee’s Report, and other items.

Tax Extenders Bill Scheduled for Consideration in Senate Finance Committee Next Week

Friday, July 17th, 2015

The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a hearing to consider the Chairman’s markup of a new tax extenders bill.  The Committee will consider the bill on Tuesday, July 21.  In its current form, the bill would give the Work Opportunity Tax Credit a 2-year retroactive extension — January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016.

The bill will extend federal Empowerment Zone tax benefits for the same period.

Read the Chairman’s markup here.

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

Thursday, 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

Wednesday, 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.

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

Thursday, 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

Saturday, 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.

Friday, 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.


From: “Paul Suplizio” <>
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.

President, WOTC Coalition


Senate Action on Extenders Anticipated Wednesday and Thursday

Monday, 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.


From: “Paul Suplizio” <>
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.

President, WOTC Coalition

Call Your US Senators NOW!

Wednesday, 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” <>
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,  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.

President, WOTC Coalition

IRS Pressing Congress to Pass Tax Extenders Before End of November

Wednesday, 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.