The IRS has released information regarding the pre-screening and certification process for employers taking advantage of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). The information relates to hiring designated categories of workers who face significant barriers to employment, including:

  • Qualified IV-A Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients;
  • Certain veterans, including unemployed or disabled veterans;
  • Qualified long-term unemployment recipients; and
  • Long-term family assistance recipients

The WOTC, which succeeded the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit (TJTC), included the requirement for employers to pre-screen job applicants. To pre-screen a job applicant, on or before the day a job offer is made, a pre-screening notice (Form 8850, Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit) must be completed by the job applicant and the employer. After pre-screening a job applicant, the IRS requires the employers to make a request for certification by submitting Form 8850 to the appropriate state workforce agency, no later than 28 days after the employee begins work.

The Service also notified that, tax-exempt organizations can claim the WOTC against the employer’s share of social security tax for hiring qualified veterans, by filing Form 5884-C, Work Opportunity Credit for Qualified Tax-Exempt Organizations Hiring Qualified Veterans. Further information can be found in the Form 8850 instructions or on the WOTC page on