Braley Introduces Legislation to Permanently Renew Tax Credits of up to $9,600 for Hiring Veterans

Dec 4, 2013 Issues: Veterans Affairs

Tax credits encouraging businesses to hire veterans, including Iowa National Guard, expire at the end of 2013

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today introduced the Hire a Hero Act, legislation that would make permanent tax credits for businesses that hire returning service members and wounded warriors. First established in 2011, the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors tax credits were extended last year, but are currently set to expire at the end of 2013. 

Braley said, “When veterans return home and reenter civilian life, we need to encourage employers to hire them and put their professional skills to good use. It’s the least we can do after these men and women have put their lives on the line for our country.

“Making these tax credits permanent is common sense. These credits reduce veterans’ unemployment by encouraging businesses to hire them and businesses get the commitment and work ethic of a military veteran. Congress needs to act now to pass this legislation before these credits expire to ensure our veterans return to good opportunities when they come home.”

The Hire a Hero Act would make the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors permanent. In October, Senator Kay Hagen (D-NC) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

In 2011, Braley wrote the Combat Veterans Back to Work Act to provide employers with a payroll tax break if they hired recently returned veterans, including members of the Iowa National Guard. The bill was incorporated into new tax credits signed into law in November 2011. The Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors work opportunity tax credits provide anywhere between $2,400 and $9,600 to businesses who hire veterans.

These credits are available to businesses that hire unemployed or returning veterans and qualify for tax credits worth between $2,400 and $5,600. Businesses that hire unemployed veterans with a service-connected disability qualify for tax credits of between $4,800 and $9,600. There is no limit to how many veterans a business can hire, therefore no limit on how many tax credits they can receive.

Iowa employers, like G4S Secure Solutions in Cedar Rapids, have used the tax credit to help hire more veterans. In fact, in Iowa nearly 30 percent of this company’s workforce is made up of veterans.

David Lane, Vice President of the Midwest Region at G4S Secure Solutions (USA) said, “Nationally more than a quarter of G4S Secure Solutions’ workforce is made up of veterans,”.

“These veterans bring a commitment and discipline to their job that benefits everything we do. The Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors tax credits has allowed us to increase the number of veterans we hire and making these tax credits permanent would allow us to continue to do so.”

In addition to making the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors work opportunity tax credits permanent, the legislation would expand the credit to smalls businesses that hire National Guard and Ready Reserve members.

In December 2012, Congress extended the tax credits until the end of 2013 when they passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. If Congress fails to act, the tax credits will expire on December 31.

Last week, Braley sent a letter to Speaker Boehner urging him to renew the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors work opportunity tax credits, which are currently set to expire at the end of December.

The possible expiration of these veterans hiring tax credits comes as unemployment among post-9/11 veterans is rising. In June 2013, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was at 7.2 percent, but as of October 2013, this rate had increased to 10 percent. In Iowa, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was at 7.8 percent in 2012.

A copy of the Hire a Hero Act can be downloaded at the following link: http://1.usa.gov/1eTJJU0.