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Congress passed and President Trump signed a bill on September 29 that provides a temporary WOTC-like tax benefit for businesses impacted by three recent powerful hurricanes.
H.R.3823 – Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017 includes the “Employee Retention Credit for Employers Affected by Hurricanes” Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Eligible employers include any that *conducted an active trade or business *within one of the bill’s defined disaster relief zones *on the date the hurricanes struck, whose business then *became inoperable between that date and December 31, 2017 because of the hurricane.
Eligible employees are persons who worked for such a business, whose principal place of employment was within the disaster relief zone at the time the hurricane struck.
Like WOTC, the tax credit amount equals 40% of the first $6,000 in wages paid. Consideration is limited, however, to wages paid during the relief period, which ends December 31, 2017.
An eligible employee could have also generated the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) prior to the hurricane. Wages paid to such a WOTC-employee are eligible for the Retention Credit unless those same wages are concurrently generating the WOTC benefit itself. In other words, you can’t claim both benefits on the same wages — but you can claim the two benefits one after the other.
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