2017 Handbook of Employment Regulations Affecting Florida Farm Employers and Workers: Work Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC) Federal1

Fritz Roka, Michael Olexa, Carol Fountain, and Jessica Fernandez 2


The federal program provides tax credits for employers who hire certain targeted categories of individuals.


In 1996, Congress created the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program as part of the Small Business Job Protection Act. This program replaces the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit (TJTC) program which expired at the end of 1994.

With the new WOTC program, employers who hire certain targeted categories of individuals will be eligible for tax credits.

Targeted Categories of Individuals

  • Veterans under specific circumstances

  • Long-term temporary assistance for needy families recipient (TANF)

  • Referrals from vocational rehabilitation

  • Food stamp recipients

  • Ex felons

Tax credits are also available for employers who hire certain economically disadvantaged youths during any ninety-day period beginning May 1st and September 15th and for persons receiving state assistance with minor children, youths living in empowerment zones or enterprise communities, and economically disadvantaged youths. For a list of qualifications required for an employee to be considered a member of a qualifying group see the Work Opportunity Tax Credit Target Group Eligibility chart from the United States Department of Labor (https://www.doleta.gov/business/incentives/opptax/PDF/Target_Group_Eligibility.pdf).

Determining Who Qualifies for Program

To determine if an individual is a member of a targeted group, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has developed Form 8850, Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit. Call the IRS at 1(800) 829-3676 for ordering Form 8850. Form 8850 can also be found online (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8850.pdf).

Using Form 8850

  • If employers believe that any new hire is a member of a target group, they should complete Form 8850 on or before the day the job is offered to the applicant.

  • Both the employer and applicant should sign Form 8850 and the employer must submit it to the state employment service office no later than the 28th calendar day after the applicant begins work.

  • The employment service then reviews Form 8850 and determines whether the applicant is a member of a target group.

  • If eligible, the state employment service certifies the applicant.

The United States Department of Labor has a list of the contact information for the WOTC coordinator in each state, available at https://www.doleta.gov/business/incentives/opptax/State_Contacts.cfm.

Other Information

  • Labor Relations Bulletin No. 512, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Orlando, FL, October 31, 1996

Responsible Agency (Tax Credit)

United States Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Washington, DC 20224
United States Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration
200 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20210
(202) 693-3046

Responsible Agency (Certification)

Department of Economic Opportunity
WOTC Tax Credit Program
MSC #G-300, Caldwell Building
107 East Madison Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
(850) 921-3299

For local offices, see telephone directory under

  • Florida, State of

  • Business and Professional Regulation, Department of

  • Florida, Jobs and Benefits Center


1. This is EDIS document FE421, a publication of the Department of Food and Resource Economics, UF/IFAS Extension. Published 2003, revised 2009 and 2017. This handbook is produced and distributed by the UF/IFAS Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Law. Originally published by Leo Polopolus. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Fritz Roka, associate professor, Food and Resource Economics Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Immokalee, FL. Michael Olexa, professor, Food and Resource Economics Department, and director, Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Law UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL. Carol Fountain, editor, Food and Resource Economics Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL. Jessica Fernandez, graduate student, Levin College of Law, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

This document is designed to provide accurate, current, and authoritative information on the subject. However, since the laws, administrative rulings, and court decisions on which it is based are subject to constant revision, portions of this publication could become outdated at any time. This publication is distributed with the understanding that the authors are not engaged in rendering legal or other professional advice, and the information contained herein should not be regarded as a substitute for professional advice. For these reasons, the utilization of these materials by any person constitutes an agreement to hold harmless the authors, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the University of Florida for any liability claims, damages, or expenses that may be incurred by any person as a result of reference to or reliance on the information contained in this publication.