Screening applicants is the first step toward claiming the WOTC

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program offers valuable tax benefits to employers who hire disadvantaged job seekers. Businesses with highly effective WOTC strategies can boost their total cash flows by up to 40%. 

Unfortunately, profits like this are not guaranteed. They are the result of an expert understanding of how the WOTC works, alongside an effective execution of the program. 

Arvo Tech helps businesses of all sizes optimize their WOTC programs. In this blog, we’ll explore one crucial aspect of WOTC–the screening survey.

A WOTC survey, also known as a WOTC questionnaire, or WOTC screening, is used by an employer to determine whether or not a job applicant belongs to one of the ten WOTC target groups, which is the first step in determining whether or not wages paid to the applicant can count toward WOTC credits.

Why do I need a WOTC survey?

Requesting that  job applicants complete an eligibility survey during the hiring process is the first step in claiming the WOTC. This is because the IRS requires that employers claiming the WOTC submit Form 8850 for each WOTC-eligible new hire on or before the day a job offer is made. This requirement is designed to eliminate certain unethical hiring practices designed to exploit the transformative potential of WOTC.

In order to submit Form 8850 on time, employers must therefore screen job applicants for WOTC eligibility before offering them a job. 

What does a WOTC survey do? 

A WOTC survey determines whether or not a job applicant belongs to one of the ten WOTC target groups, including: 

  • Qualified IV-A Recipient
  • Qualified Veteran
  • Qualified Ex-Felon
  • Designated Community Resident
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Referral
  • Qualified Summer Youth Employee
  • Qualified SNAP Benefits Recipient
  • Qualified SSI Recipient
  • Long-Term Family Assistance Recipient
  • Qualified Long-Term Unemployment Recipient 

It is important to note that the answers supplied by new job applicants on WOTC surveys are not sufficient to certify them as eligible for WOTC. Their survey answers must be certified by the appropriate state workforce agency in the employer’s region, via documentation or other evidence, in order for the employer to claim the WOTC for wages paid to the employee. 

How do I get a WOTC survey?

Employers screen applicants for WOTC in any number of ways, but selecting a trustworthy tax credit service provider like Arvo Tech is the simplest and safest way to get a WOTC survey. Screening for WOTC involves gathering personal information from applicants, which puts employers at risk of violating non-discrimination laws if handled incorrectly. 

One aspect of legally screening for WOTC includes presenting the WOTC survey as optional, not mandatory. For this reason, it is paramount that WOTC surveys be fast, simple, and intuitive. Otherwise, employers risk missing out on tax benefits due to poor user experience design. At Arvo, our automated survey, which can be integrated with your ATS, has been tested and proven to result in faster completion times, higher completion rates, and higher eligibility rates. 

How can I improve my WOTC survey?

In today’s information-dense world, job seekers are asked to spend more time than ever completing applications. Since WOTC-eligible applicants are from historically disadvantaged groups, it is easy to see how the design of your WOTC survey can impact the success of your WOTC program. Surveys need to be simple, fast, and intuitive, all while complying with fair hiring practices and nondiscrimination laws. Poorly-designed or -utilized surveys result in missed opportunities.

Contact Arvo today to discuss how to optimize all aspects of your WOTC program, including the survey, to maximize the financial benefits available through WOTC.