Hiring "hard-to-place" workers pays off for Washington employers

Washington employers received a record $66 million in tax credits from the U.S. government for the 2011 tax-filing season for hiring certain hard-to-place job seekers.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit rewards employers who hire military veterans, people with disablities, ex-inmates, food-stamp recipients and individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income. The tax credit can range from $2,400 to $9,600 for each eligible new hire.

The state’s Employment Security Department administers the program in Washington. The department received nearly 49,000 applications for the 2011 credit from more than 2,000 Washington businesses, and it certified that 25,300 of the hires qualified for the tax credit.

Employers apply for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit through Employment Security’s website within 28 days after each potentially eligible hire. The department works with other governmental agencies to certify the eligibility of hired workers.

To receive the credit, each new employee must work a minimum of 400 hours during the first year in the new job and earn at least $6,000 in wages.

In 2011, food-stamp recipients comprised 64 percent of all certifications. Welfare beneficiaries and veterans represented another 19 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Businesses certified for the credit must complete IRS Form 5884 when submitting their amended federal income taxes for 2011. The certification process for 2012 applications will be completed by July 2013.

For more information, call Employment Security at 800-669-9271.

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