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Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Unlocking Opportunities: A Guide to Leveraging the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) offers a substantial federal tax credit to employers willing to support disadvantaged individuals. This article provides an in-depth look at the key aspects of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), guiding employers through the potential benefits and certification process.

1. Potential Work Opportunity Tax Credit for Employers

Employers can potentially benefit from a federal tax credit of up to $2,400 per eligible employee. For certain veterans and “long-term family assistance recipients,” this credit can reach up to $9,600 and $9,000, respectively. To qualify, eligible employees must start working for the new employer before December 31, 2025.

2. Eligible Employees and Targeted Groups

To be eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), employers must pay qualified wages to individuals from specific targeted groups. These groups include veterans, the formerly incarcerated, recipients of state assistance, residents in designated empowerment zones, and more. The article outlines the qualifications for each group in detail.

3. Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Determination and Calculation

For an employer to qualify for the credit, the employee must work a minimum of 120 hours and receive at least 50% of their wages from the employer’s trade or business. The credit is calculated based on the first $6,000 of first-year wages for most targeted groups. Special provisions apply for summer youth employees, long-term family assistance recipients, and veterans with varying first-year wage limits.

4. Work Opportunity Tax Credit Certification Process

To claim the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), employers must file Form 8850 with their state workforce agency within 28 days of the eligible employee starting work. Once the worker is state-certified as a member of a targeted group and meets the required hours, the employer can claim the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) using Form 5884.

5. Other Issues and Considerations

The article addresses important considerations, including the prohibition of dual benefits, the treatment of unused current-year credits, and specific guidelines for tax-exempt employers. It emphasizes that, in certain circumstances, choosing not to claim the credit might be more advantageous for the employer, urging readers to seek professional advice.


Navigating the intricacies of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) can yield significant benefits for employers and support diverse hiring practices. This comprehensive guide aims to empower employers with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions regarding the WOTC and its potential impact on their tax circumstances.

JS Morlu LLC is a top-tier accounting firm based in Woodbridge, Virginia, with a team of highly experienced and qualified CPAs and business advisors. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive accounting, tax, and business advisory services to clients throughout the Washington, D.C. Metro Area and the surrounding regions. With over a decade of experience, we have cultivated a deep understanding of our clients’ needs and aspirations. We recognize that our clients seek more than just value-added accounting services; they seek a trusted partner who can guide them towards achieving their business goals and personal financial well-being.
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  1. The U.S. Department of Labor’s website on the WOTC
  2. The Internal Revenue Service’s website on the WOTC
  3. The Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) website on the WOTC
  4. The National Federation of Independent Business’s (NFIB) website on the WOTC
  5. The National Association of State Workforce Agencies’ (NASWA) website on the WOTC