Make WOTC and Other Credits Refundable

Image of Senator Rob Portman of Ohio

According to a recent article published by Law360, some members of Congress are considering making general business tax credits, including the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), refundable.  The change would likely be temporary, as a contribution to COVID 19 recovery efforts.

From the article:

“Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a senior member of the Finance Committee, said he and other Republicans were looking into the idea of allowing a business to receive a refund, or cash payment. It would be equal to the business’ so-called general business credit, which represents the cumulative value of various tax credits, which currently can be carried back for one year or carried forward over 20 years under Internal Revenue Code Section 39.”

Most tax credits are not refundable.  You can use the tax credit up to a certain amount to offset taxes owed.  The amount leftover is then reserved (or carried forward) to be used against tax owed next year. If, however, a tax credit becomes refundable, then in essence it can be filed for a cash payment from the government, even if no tax is owed.

Portman also suggested Congress may examine ways to make all of the various tax credits more appealing to businesses. “We can look at all of the credits. If you look, there are 38 of them,”

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