Businesses receive labor-related tax breaks

CHICAGO — In this tough economy, every business could use a break. Businesses that hire employees fitting in the categories of Job Corps graduates, veterans, unemployed and disabled workers will receive available tax credits.

Job Corps is a free educational and vocational training program available to eligible youth between the ages of 16 and 24. Businesses who hire Job Corps graduates not only get a trained entry-level employee, but qualify for a $2,400 tax break for at least six months of full-time employment and a $1,200 tax credit for part-time employment for the same amount of time.

Federal tax benefits are available for business owners who hire veterans under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). There is a credit of up to $2,400 if a business hires a veteran who is a member of a family that has received food stamps or a disabled veteran who is participating in a vocational rehabilitation program. Businesses can receive up to $4,800 in tax credits for hiring a veteran within one year of being discharged or released from active duty or who has been unemployed for any six of the last 12 months.

The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE) gives employers who hire an unemployed worker before Jan. 1, 2011, a 6.2% payroll tax incentive, which basically exempts them from their share of Social Security taxes on wages paid to that worker. In addition, for each worker retained for at least one year, business can claim an additional general business tax credit of up to$1,000 per worker when they file their 2011 taxes.

Not only can businesses who hire disabled workers qualify for the WOTC, but there are also tax breaks available for improving the work lives of those employees. Disability Access Tax Credits exist, including the Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction which gives employers up to $15,000 a year to improve entrances, walkways, etc. for persons with disabilities.