PassGo Ohio State University Student Group Connects WOTC Eligible Ex-felons with New Employers

Found an interesting article published in The Lantern about PassGo, a student group at The Ohio State University.  PassGo partners with other non-profits offering training and job counseling to ex-felons.  It uses the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program as an additional tool to help connect these rehabilitated men and women with private employers in the community.

The program started when a group of students found the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and felt many local businesses were unaware of the tax credit’s advantages. Since then, PassGo has connected with other local organizations also aiming to connect ex-offenders with the opportunities and resources necessary to resuming life after prison.

Smart thinking.  And a great business idea.

IRS Notice 2016-40 – Extends WOTC Transition Relief 3 Additional Months

Today, the IRS formally recognized that employers (and state workforce agencies) need more time to adjust to the WOTC-program changes initiated by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015.

This morning, the IRS issued Notice 2016-40, which extends transition relief for another three months. At about the same time, the Department of Labor also issued Training and Employment Guidance Letter Number 25-15, dealing with the same issues.

Background:

Back in March, the IRS issued Notice 2016-22, which temporarily modified the normal 28-day application deadline for WOTC applications.  That notice established June 29th as the grand-deadline to submit applications for all employees hired from January 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016.

Built into that schedule, however, was anticipation that the Department of Labor would issue updated WOTC forms in a timely manner.  Employers and state workforce agencies would need time to adjust their procedures and technology to handle all the changes.

This morning, however, we found ourselves just 12 days away from that original deadline, still waiting for the updated forms.  Happily, the new ETA forms are referenced in this mornings Guidance Letter. So I anticipate having them soon — probably later today.

Nevertheless, 12 days is not enough time to make this work.  We now collectively have been granted until September 28th to get our systems into working order and to submit all outstanding applications.

This deadline extension applies to employees hired January 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016.  Other than extending the time frames of transition relief, the recent notice does not otherwise modify the terms of the original IRS Notice 2016-22.

 

 

Bill’s Sponsor Kills Colorado State WOTC Proposal

Ed Sealover of the Denver Business Journal reports today that State Representative Dianne Primavera has killed her state tax credit proposal HB 1372. Yesterday, Colorado’s House Finance Committee voted 9 to 0 to postpone the bill indefinitely.

Sorry, for now there will be no state Work Opportunity Income Tax Credit for Colorado employers.

Read more:  Denver Business Journal,

Investing in Older Workers Act of 2016 Would Increase WOTC Tax Credit Earned for Hiring Older Workers Suffering Long Term Unemployment

Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey has sponsored a bill to increase the amount of Work Opportunity Tax Credit generated by wages paid to older Long Term Unemployment Recipients.

BonnieWatsonColemanPIC

This bill, known as the Investing in Older Workers Act, would increase the maximum qualifying wage from the current $6,000 to $14,000 for qualifying Long Term Unemployment Recipients who are age 55 or older.  As a result, the maximum tax credit amount that could be generated by hiring an an older long-term unemployment recipient would increase from $2,400 to $5,600.

The current law does not distinguish long-term unemployment recipients based on the age of the worker.  Under this proposal, however, the wage basis and tax credit amount generated would not change for long-term unemployment recipients who are younger than age 55.

The Investing in Older Workers Act also proposes an annual adjustment for inflation that would increase the $14,000 wage basis by increments of $50 as inflation raises the cost of living.

 

Missouri Democrat Proposes State Tax Deduction

Missouri State Representative Michele Kratky has proposed a state tax deduction for small businesses that hire qualifying disabled and previously incarcerated ex-offenders.  The $5,000 deduction can be claimed for up to 3 consecutive years while minimum employment standards are being satisfied.

See the KFVS12 report here.

Find the bill summary and further links here.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit Informational Notice – Updated Forms Requeired

The Department of Labor has issued Training and Employment Guidance Letter Number 9-15 regarding updated forms. This morning, we received a notice about the update from the Karen Marberry, Minnesota’s Work Opportunity Tax Credit Coordinator. Marberry’s notice is copied below.

Please notice, the ETA 9061 has been renewed without substantive change BUT the Revision Date and Expiration Date have been updated.  Effective February 16, 2016 the new revision of the form must be used and the old revision will no longer be accepted.

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Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Informational Notice

Dear Consultant:

We have been advised by the U.S. Department of Labor to notify employers and consultants participating in the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program the required use of the newly revised ETA Form 9061 (August 2015) for all new hires effective February 16, 2016 and later. We ask that you discontinue using any outdated forms you currently have.

The 8850 and 9061 forms are available on our website at

http://mn.gov/deed/wotc under the tab “How to Apply”. The website lists all of the target groups covered by the tax credit for individuals hired before January 1, 2015.

The WOTC is currently in a program hiatus; however please continue to submit applications timely throughout the hiatus to ensure applications will not be denied for being late once the program has been reauthorized.

This form change requirement includes applications submitted to the WOTC online application system.

Thank you for your cooperation. If you have any questions, please call 651-259-7507 or 1-888-234-5521.

Karen Marberry | Work Opportunity Tax Credit Coordinator
Department of Employment and Economic Development
1st National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota St., Suite E200, St. Paul MN 55101
Direct: 651-259-7521 l TTY: 651-296-3900 l Fax: 651-297-7722
Web | Twitter | Facebook

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We’re Still Waiting – Tax Extenders Omitted from the Two-Year Budget Deal

I’m sorry, I should have posted this sooner.

The Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015 as worked out by Speaker Boehner and other leaders this week does not include WOTC or other tax extenders. The extenders will likely become a priority for the new Speaker in coming days. They most certainly ARE a priority for tens of thousands of businesses and tax payers, all of whom have their eyes on Congress this week.

EXPIRE Act – Tax Extenders and WOTC Now on their Way in US Senate

Earlier today, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly (96 for, 3 against) to take up HR 3474, the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act.

This procedural vote of cloture means that a final vote on the bill may be coming soon.  In the mean time, amendments will be considered and negotiations concluded. We anticipate a vote on the floor of the Senate as early as this week.

Of course, passage by the Senate does not make it law.  It must still pass before the House of Representatives where support is not so dramatic. The overwhelming support for this bill in today’s cloture vote, however, bodes well for a strong passage by the Senate. This unexpectedly high level of support in the Senate may in turn become a persuasive message to our Republican leadership in the House.

The language of this tax extenders bill will renew the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and Empowerment Zone tax incentives (and numerous other programs) through 2015.  It also includes an expansion of WOTC by adding a new target group — the Long-term Unemployment Recipient.  To be precise:

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.

This definition is more restrictive than the original version included in an earlier draft of this bill.  For one, the required length of unemployment is longer – a minimum of 27 instead of 26 weeks.  Moreover, the new employee must have received unemployment compensation benefits at some time during that 27-week period.  Finally, the individual must be currently unemployed at the time of hire and the 27 weeks must be consecutive, leading up to the hire date.

The consecutive-weeks requirement is troubling because it could produce inequitable results for many people. It depends on how strictly the language will be interpreted by the IRS. If the word “unemployed” means no work at all, it would rule out struggling but responsible individuals who have accepted even the most temporary work opportunities.

Consider this in light of the 2010 HIRE Act’s payroll tax exemption. If you recall, the HIRE Act provided a benefit to employers when they hired individuals who had been unemployed for at least 60 days.  Even though the unemployment requirement was much shorter, a person could still have worked up to 40 hours during that period and still be considered unemployed for purposes of the tax benefit.

[This post was updated with minor corrections 05/16/2014]
 

Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Association, reported on the Senate’s cloture vote this morning.  The following is published here with permission.

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From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>
Date: Tue, May 13, 2014 9:47 am
Subject: Senate Votes To Advance Tax Extenders Bill

May 13, 2014

The Senate voted 96-3 today to take up H.R. 3474, the tax extenders bill.

This success is largely due to efforts of new Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and his team for reaching out to every senator to accommodate their interests in the bill. Since the bill was approved by the Finance Committee on April 3rd, Senator Wyden has been actively reaching across the aisle to Republicans to gain their support.

Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader McConnell, and the bill’s managers, Senator Wyden and Senator Hatch, can now determine which amendments, if any, will be voted on and move to final passage of the bill.

We will be watching for amendments that may impact WOTC—so far there are none, but Senator Coburn, who voted against the bill, has made WOTC a target in the past.

Those of us in touch with Speaker Boehner, Chairman Camp, or others in the House leadership can note the overwhelming vote in the Senate and urge the House to move on the bill when it comes before them.

It’s understood the House will want to make changes—what’s important is that they bring a bill to the floor soon to provide certainty to taxpayers and boost the economy.

The biggest risk at this point is for House Republicans to sit on the bill till after the election because they cannot get the President to agree to something they want, in particular, terminating the medical device tax imposed by the Affordable Care Act. Repealing this tax is a high priority for Republicans and we know it’s one of the amendments Senator Reid is being asked to allow a vote on.

Many thanks to Coalition members who’ve been lobbying Senate Republicans non-stop for two years to get WOTC extended and made permanent in tax reform. The job isn’t finished but you can see your efforts are paying off.

PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition

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Senator Chuck Grassley Senior Republican on Senate Finance Committee Predicts Tax Extenders

According to a recent article in The Gazette of eastern Iowa, US Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa predicts that many tax extenders will be renewed in 2014. Senator Grassley is the Senior Republican member on the Senate Finance Committee.

There won’t be any extension before Christmas, Grassley predicted, but not because of political opposition to the credits. Based on past performance, he said Wednesday, Congress will come back after the New Year and approve four dozen or more tax credits.

“There are a lot of economic interests” represented in the tax credits, he explained. Those interest groups collectively “put a lot of pressure on Congress to re-institute the credits.”

So, why wait?  

The delay, Grassley said, can be attributed to the ongoing discussion about “massive tax reform.”

If congressional leaders – in this case Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, starts talking about extending the credits “it looks like you’ve given up on tax reform,” Grassley said, adding “which isn’t going to happen before Christmas.”

Read the entire article in The Gazette.

Put on Your Lobbying Shoes – Budget Negotiations Coming Soon

This year has passed too quickly.  It’s already September 10th!

Only yesterday it was 4th quarter 2012 and we were perplexed about how Congress would handle (or fail to handle) the many expired tax extenders. For patrons of the WOTC program, the time to sweat has come again.

When Congress finally passed an extension for WOTC and numerous other tax incentives in January 2013, it extended the WOTC program through December 31, 2013.  In one-hundred and eleven days, WOTC is slated to expire again.  At the same time, national budgetary limits are drawing near and the political budget machine is ready to roar.

This morning’s intelligence report from Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, advises WOTC proponents to become fully engaged at this time.

All of us in the WOTC Coalition and allies in the Broad Extenders Group can expect formal negotiations between the President and House and Senate leaders to be joined in earnest soon. It will take intense lobbying in the days ahead to achieve our goals, so prepare now to commit fully to our push for permanent WOTC and start building momentum in case this struggle goes into December and January, as might well be the case.

Our lobbying targets remain House and Senate Republicans because WOTC cannot be renewed without their active support. Our aim is to get rank and file Republicans, especially those with more seniority and influence identified in the Coalition’s fifty-state lobbying plan, telling their leaders they want WOTC to be made permanent in any budget deal.

Read the rest . . . the following is published here with permission (bold emphasis is in the original)

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Subject: House Republicans May Fund Government To December 15th
From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>

September 10, 2013

House Republicans are considering a proposal by Speaker Boehner to fund the government through December 15. The Continuing Resolution will go to the Rules Committee today and be voted on by the full House Thursday.

Should this proposal become law, a further CR will have to be enacted before December 15th, when Congress will adjourn its first session and not meet again till January.

Because current law requires another sequester, in the form of across-the-board budget cuts, to go into effect on January 15th if Congress and the President fail to agree on an alternative, the December CR will be another “fiscal cliff” requiring all sides to negotiate.

Anticipating this, the White House plans to engage House and Senate leaders on a budget deal immediately after Congress takes votes, if any, on the Syria issue. Their goal is to get a “clean” bill to increase the debt ceiling enough to cover FY 2014 obligations, so that issue will be out of the way and talks can focus on the budget, sequester, and long-run deficit. Speaker Boehner, however, has said many times Republicans won’t increase the debt ceiling without spending cuts, and this demand could result in several short-term debt limit bills as the parties negotiate.

All of us in the WOTC Coalition and allies in the Broad Extenders Group can expect formal negotiations between the President and House and Senate leaders to be joined in earnest soon. It will take intense lobbying in the days ahead to achieve our goals, so prepare now to commit fully to our push for permanent WOTC and start building momentum in case this struggle goes into December and January, as might well be the case.

Our lobbying targets remain House and Senate Republicans because WOTC cannot be renewed without their active support. Our aim is to get rank and file Republicans, especially those with more seniority and influence identified in the Coalition’s fifty-state lobbying plan, telling their leaders they want WOTC to be made permanent in any budget deal.

PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition