Senators push for expansion and permanence of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program
(Florence, SC – August 29, 2019) – The Senate Finance Committee Employment and Community Development Taskforce on Temporary Tax Policy released its report on August 27, 2019. The Task Force gave considerations to the Indian employment tax credit, new markets tax credit (NMTC), mine rescue team training credit, work opportunity tax credit (WOTC), empowerment zone tax incentives, and American Samoa economic development credit. The overall recommendation for the provisions they considered is that, “Tax policy should be enacted with long-term horizons, if not on a permanent basis.”
Recommendations were given to have some prospective change to the Indian Employment Credit that would “…measure the credit using a moving average of qualified wages and health insurance costs from a set number of preceding years.” The taskforce also received comments arguing for permanence of the Indian employment tax credit, while others argued for it to be permanently repealed. Similar sentiments were given toward the American Samoa Economic Development Credit, Empowerment Zones, and New Markets Tax Credit.
There were numerous calls for WOTC to be made permanent from the National Employment Opportunity Network (NEON) and other stakeholders. The primary arguments in support of permanence for WOTC revolve around the fact the targeted groups eligible for the credit face significant barriers to entering the workforce or to maintaining gainful employment, while also incentivizing employers. Furthermore, they argue that permanence of the credit would increase the number of employers that would utilize the credit as employers establish infrastructure to promote outreach to targeted groups and to effectively file for the credit.
Many bills were introduced and are currently in Congress to expand the targeted groups eligible for WOTC and to increase credit amounts. There were sixty-five (65) comments received on WOTC, the most comments filed on the report by far.
Two Senators filed comments regarding WOTC: Bob Casey (D-PA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL). Casey is in favor of his bill to expand WOTC to include SSI Disability recipients and Durbin is in favor of his HERO bill which is focused on youth who have dropped out of school.
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