The House and Senate have passed H.R. 1865, Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020. White House staff have indicated the President will sign the bill either today or tomorrow. Once the president signs H. R. 1865 into law, it will provide a one-year extension for WOTC (including VOW to Hire Heroes Act), and retroactive extensions for Empowerment Zone tax benefits and Indian Employment tax credits through 12/31/2020.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Program was created by the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 to assists targeted individuals in obtaining employment to foster economic independence. The program was designed to encourage employers to hire workers from certain target groups that face obstacles to employment by providing a tax credit of up to $9600 for each WOTC qualified worker that they hire.

The Empowerment Zone (EZ) program encourages investment in designated distressed communities by providing a tax credit of up to $3000 for employers with facilities in the EZ that hire individuals who work and live in the Empowerment Zone. There is also a credit of up to $2400 for employers who hire residents between the ages of 18 and 40 who live in these communities.

The Indian Employment Credit offers a credit of up to $4000 to employers who hire an enrolled member of an Indian tribe or the enrolled member’s spouse. To qualify, substantially all the services must be performed by such an employee within an Indian reservation, and the employee’s principle residence must be on or near the reservation where the services are performed.

The extension of these programs once again acknowledges their value to job seekers, businesses, and the overall economy.


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