Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined a veteran small business owner and one of his new hires -- a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan -- to highlight progress in extending tax incentives for businesses that hire unemployed veterans and wounded warriors. While in Pasco, Cantwell toured In Home Medical, a veteran-owned small business specializing in home medical equipment that would benefit from an extension of these tax credits.
"Today, I'm calling on the Senate to pass a new bipartisan bill that helps veterans land jobs," said Cantwell. "This bill provides up to $9,600 in tax cuts to businesses that hire veterans. These tax incentives have already helped 1,700 veterans find jobs this year in Washington state. I will be fighting to make sure they continue next year."
Last week, Cantwell helped to advance a new bipartisan bill that would extend the Returning Heroes and Wounded Heroes Work Opportunity Tax Credits through 2013. These credits allow businesses to obtain a tax credit of up to $9,600 for each qualified veteran they hire to fill job openings, but they are set to expire at the end of the year. The Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act passed the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance by a 19-5 vote on August 2, and is currently pending consideration by the full Senate.
Pasco-based In Home Medical has 22 employees, of which 5 are veterans. Extending the Returning Heroes and Wounded Heroes Work Opportunity Tax Credits through next year would help more Tri-Cities-area unemployed veterans land jobs at businesses like In Home Medical, which plans to use the tax credit to hire more veterans.
According to the Washington State Employment Security Department, as of July 24, 1,725 veterans have been hired with the help of the Returning Heroes and Wounded Heroes Work Opportunity Tax Credits so far this year. As of last month, there are 31,000 unemployed veterans in Washington state.
The Returning Heroes and Wounded Heroes Work Opportunity Tax Credits are available to employers when they hire certain types of veterans -- those that have been unemployed or have a service connected disability. Employers can earn tax credits of up to $5,600 when they hire unemployed veterans and up to $9,600 when they hire veterans with service-related disabilities. In order to claim the credit, an employer must receive a certification form the Washington Department of Employment Security that the veteran hired meets the criteria for the credit.
In addition to the tax credits for hiring veterans, The Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act would also extend key tax credits championed by Cantwell, including deductions for state and local sales taxes, building low-income housing, producing clean energy, and investing in research and development.
The legislation would extend the state and local sales tax deduction for two years, covering 2012 and 2013. Without an extension, Washington residents would no longer be able to deduct the sales taxes they pay from their federal income tax returns. Approximately 27 percent of Washingtonians take advantage of the sales tax deduction and reduced their taxable income by more than $1.8 billion.
Taxpayers in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, South Dakota, and Wyoming in addition to Washington used this deduction to reduce their taxable incomes by nearly $16 billion a year.