Last Friday, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) made an appearance during a webcast hosted by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. His remarks were optimistic about including a number of tax-extenders in a pandemic stimulus bill after the elections. I think that as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Portman just might know something about it.
As described by Law 360, Portman called for expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and making WOTC permanent. His WOTC expansion would create a new Target Group for people unemployed because of the pandemic. The U.S. Senate included this same provision in its July stimulus proposal. See post herein, “Senate COVID Bill Would Expand WOTC Again.”
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,”
The Senate Finance Committee’s Employment and Community Development Taskforce has finally released its report. Unfortunately, the consensus about WOTC subtly mentioned earlier this month by Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is absent from the document. But that’s not all bad. Perhaps we need to read between the lines.
Download the report here.
Per the report, the group was tasked to examine the following six tax incentive programs:
The Senate Finance Committee released the first 3 of 6 reports investigating the status and future of numerous federal tax incentive programs.
According to an article published by Bloomberg on Tuesday, “Two of the reports released, on energy and individual tax provisions, didn’t reach definitive conclusions, indicating either weak support or divided opinion for some of those provisions.”
What About WOTC?
With political divisions at an all-time high, six U.S. Senators offered a much welcomed bi-partisan proposal this week – a bill to make the WOTC Program permanent!