Form 8850

Form 8850 is the IRS pre-screening notice and certification request for the work opportunity tax credit (WOTC). This article gives you all the information you need on Form 8850.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a great incentive for your business if you are looking to hire a new employee. Form 8850 is used by employers to identify and recruit eligible employees from the long-term unemployed, recently released convicted felons, and certain other target groups that may be able to claim a WOTC credit as part of their employment. Form 8850 requires both the employer and applicant to complete it on or before the day the applicant is offered a job.

After completing the form, both parties must sign it and mail it to their State Employment Security Agency (SESA). SESA will verify the information on the form and send it back to the employer to let them know whether or not the employee is eligible for a WOTC credit.

Employers who hire individuals from one of the target groups listed on Form 8850 must submit Form 8850 along with EITHER ETA 9062 or ETA 9061 to their SESA within 28 days after the new employee starts work. The forms can be submitted electronically or by regular mail.

The form also includes questions about service-connected disabilities. The EEOC has determined that this question is not discriminatory, even though it requires a “yes” response from workers who qualify as disabled or receive benefits due to disability and other target group members.

How to Complete Form 8850?

When completing Form 8850, the applicant and the employer must read the instructions first.

  • The applicant needs to fill out page one of the form with their personal details and checkboxes that apply to them.
  • They then need to answer a series of questions determining their eligibility for WOTC.
  • The employer then must fill out page two of the form with their information. 
  • They should also sign and date this form. This is a way to avoid any confusion when the employer wants to make a request for certification.

It is very important for both the employer and the employee to keep copies of Form 8850 that they submit to their SESA. These copies should be kept for at least three years from the specified date from which any tax returns claiming these credits are due or filed. Using Form 8850 properly is a key part of the WOTC program. It has been proven to help employers save up to $1 billion annually. Still, millions of dollars in WOTC credits go unclaimed each year due to inefficient or incomplete screening.

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