Media contact: Sheryl Hutchison, Communications Director, 360-902-9289

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today urged Washington employers to take advantage of new federal tax credits worth thousands of dollars for hiring unemployed workers.

“We need to put Washington back to work, and these tax federal credits are a great way for employers to save some money as they rebuild their work force,” said Gregoire. 

Under the federal Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act enacted in March, the employer’s 6.2 percent share of Social Security tax is waived through the end of this year for wages paid to an eligible new hire. The exemption is claimed on the employer's quarterly federal tax return.

In addition, for each qualified employee retained for at least 52 consecutive weeks, businesses can claim a new-hire retention credit of up to $1,000 on their 2011 income-tax return.

Individuals qualify if they were unemployed or worked fewer than 40 hours in the two months prior to being hired. They cannot be family members or relatives of the employer.  

The tax credits are not solely for people who are receiving unemployment benefits, said Gregoire.  “Even people who have never worked before are eligible. I hope this opens doors for people all over our state who need a job.”

“More than 300,000 unemployed people in our state are eager to go to work,” said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee. “Our local WorkSource centers are available to help employers screen and recruit eligible unemployed workers who have the skills they need.”

Addresses and phone numbers for WorkSource offices can be found online at http://Go2WorkSource.com

The new tax credits are in addition to the long-standing Work Opportunity Tax Credit for employers that hire people who need the most help finding work. These include the disabled, ex-felons, food-stamp recipients, people on welfare, recipients of Supplemental Security Income, unemployed veterans, and unemployed youths aged 16 to 24 who are not in school and need training to get a job. 


Web links