General Instructions

Section references are to the Internal Revenue Code unless otherwise noted.

Future Developments

For the latest information about developments related to Form 8850 and its instructions, such as legislation enacted after they were published, go to

What's New

  • The work opportunity credit has been extended to cover certain individuals who begin working for you before January 1, 2014. For information about transitional relief, see When and Where To File.

  • The empowerment zone designations generally expired at the end of 2011. However, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 provides for an extension of the designations to the end of 2013. For details, see Empowerment Zones.

  • The treatment of parts of Washington, DC, as an empowerment zone ended at the end of 2011.

Purpose of Form

Employers use Form 8850 to pre-screen and to make a written request to their state workforce agency (SWA) to certify an individual as a member of a targeted group for purposes of qualifying for the work opportunity credit.

Submitting Form 8850 to the SWA is but one step in the process of qualifying for the work opportunity credit. The state work opportunity tax credit (WOTC) coordinator for the SWA must certify the job applicant is a member of a targeted group. After starting work, the employee must meet the minimum number-of-hours-worked requirement for the work opportunity credit. Generally, an employer elects to take the credit by filing Form 5884, Work Opportunity Credit. However, a tax-exempt organization that hires a qualified veteran should report the work opportunity credit on Form 5884-C, Work Opportunity Credit for Qualified Tax-Exempt Organizations Hiring Qualified Veterans.

Who Should Complete andSign the Form

The job applicant gives information to the employer on or before the day a job offer is made. This information is entered on Form 8850. Based on the applicant's information, the employer determines whether or not he or she believes the applicant is a member of a targeted group (as defined under Members of Targeted Groups). If the employer believes the applicant is a member of a targeted group, the employer completes the rest of the form no later than the day the job offer is made. Both the job applicant and the employer must sign Form 8850 no later than the date for submitting the form to the SWA.

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