Washington employers will collect a record $56 million in federal tax credits because they hired hard-to-place people.
The state Employment Security Department approved about 21,850 applications in 2011, which included applications for hires made near the end of 2010.
The department received more than 48,500 applications for the credit from 3,192 businesses, up 3 percent from 2010.
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit provides up to $2,400 in tax savings per worker to businesses that hire military veterans, the disabled, ex-inmates, food-stamp recipients and people who receive Supplemental Security Income. Businesses that hire long-term welfare recipients can save as much as $9,000 per person over two years.
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Some tax savings will increase in 2012, including up to $5,600 for long-term unemployed veterans and as much as $9,600 for veterans who have a service-connected disability.
To receive the tax credit, each new employee must work a minimum of 400 hours during the first year of employment and earn at least $6,000.
Businesses apply for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit through the state's Employment Security Department within 28 days after the hire. Employers who want to participate should call Employment Security at 800-669-9271.