New Online System Drastically Shortens Approval Time for Worker Opportunity Tax Credits

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 | 10:04am

Department of Labor and Workforce Development Can Now Approve Tax Credits in 24 Hour

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) announced Tuesday the introduction of a new online system where businesses can apply for Work Opportunity Tax Credits and be approved in most cases in 24 hours. Previously, the approval process for these types of tax credits took up to one year.

A Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) provides business credits of anywhere from $1,500-$9,600 for hiring an individual from a qualifying target group.  The Department’s WOTC unit issues about 700 tax credits weekly, providing an estimated $1.2 million in tax credits each week to Tennessee employers.

In 2014, Tennessee approved $54 million in Work Opportunity Tax Credits for employers across the state.

The new system dramatically increases the speed in which the Department approves these tax credits.

“In the past, with the combination of long time periods lacking Congressional authorization of the tax credits and a manual review process, the approval time for a tax credit ranged from six months, to a year,” the unit’s director, Nicholas Bishop said.

The TDLWD system is now connected with interfaces from other agencies and databases, allowing for a 24-hour decision on WOTC applications.

Employers can now manage all their records and applications online, letting them track the status of their application in real-time, with instant updates and communications. 

It is estimated only about 25 percent of Tennessee’s employers currently utilize the WOTC. Department leaders are hopeful the introduction of the new online application system will allow more businesses to take advantage of the tax credits.

“States now have the ability to approve these tax credits through 2019 without any additional Congressional authorization.  Employers have until June 30, 2016 to submit a WOTC application for all qualifying new hires made from January 1, 2015 through May 29, 2016,” Bishop said.

The new system is not only more efficient but also saves tax dollars and benefits the environment.  Since the application process is now done electronically, the state will use 700,000 fewer pieces of paper each year.

To see if applicants qualify for a WOTC or to learn more about the new system, visit or the WOTC Portal, Contact the TDLWD at 844-216-8495 or


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