Smucker, Fitzpatrick unveil measure to enhance federal ‘job-creating’ tax credit

U.S. Reps. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on Dec. 14 offered a bipartisan bill to bolster the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which provides a federal tax credit to employers who invest in American workers facing barriers to employment, like eligible military veterans, SNAP recipients, people with disabilities, and long-term unemployed individuals.

“Connecting individuals to great-paying jobs through a strengthened Work Opportunity Tax Credit will grow our economy and reduce long-term unemployment,” Rep. Smucker said. “We know that the best anti-poverty program is a good job.”

Rep. Smucker sponsored the Improve and Enhance the Work Opportunity Tax Credit Act of 2023, H.R. 6833, alongside four original cosponsors, including Rep. Fitzpatrick and U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Terri Sewell (D-AL).

“I thank my colleagues for joining me in introducing the pro-growth Improve and Enhance the Work Opportunity Tax Credit Act on a bipartisan basis,” said Rep. Smucker. “The WOTC has received bipartisan support since its enactment, and I am hopeful that my colleagues in Congress will join with me in supporting this legislation to improve a proven job-creating tax credit.”

The WOTC, which hasn’t been updated since its enactment 27 years ago, gives a tax credit to employers who incur higher recruitment and training costs to reach WOTC-eligible populations and support their successful transition back into employment, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

“The WOTC is a proven resource to assist disadvantaged Americans with employment,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said. “By adjusting credit amounts to account for inflation and eliminating arbitrary age limits, the bipartisan Improve and Enhance the Work Opportunity Tax Credit Act will ensure that more individuals can utilize this important program and encourage long-term employment.”

H.R. 6833 would increase the current credit percentage from 40 percent to 50 percent of qualified wages, add a second level of credit for employees who work 400 or more hours, and eliminate the age cap at which SNAP recipients are eligible for WOTC, the bill summary says.

“As Americans continue to return to the workforce, employers need a modern tool to help recruit and retain individuals seeking long-term employment opportunities,” said Rep. Sewell. “I am proud that this legislation builds upon the prior successes of Work Opportunity Tax Credit while factoring in the 25 years of economic change our country has seen since its enactment.”

The measure has gained support from numerous entities, including the National Employment Opportunity Network, the Critical Labor Coalition, the Food Industry Association, the National Restaurant Association, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the National Grocers Association, and the American Health Care Association, among many others.