On March 18, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment ("HIRE") Act (H.R. 2847). The HIRE Act amends the Internal Revenue Code ("IRC") to provide certain tax incentives for employers to hire unemployed workers. Specifically, the HIRE Act creates two new tax benefits for eligible employers: a payroll tax exemption for certain new hires, and a tax credit for retaining the qualified new hires.
First, the HIRE Act provides eligible employers with a payroll tax exemption for qualified employees hired between February 3, 2010, and January 11, 2011. This tax benefit is an exemption from having to pay the employer’s 6.2% share of social security tax on the wages paid to the qualified employee from March 19, 2010, through December 31, 2010. Employers may claim this tax exemption on their quarterly tax returns, starting with the second quarter of 2010.
Second, the HIRE Act also provides eligible employers with a business tax credit for each qualified employee that is retained for at least one year, or 52 consecutive weeks. The employer may claim a credit of up to 6.2% of the wages paid to the retained employee over the one-year period, or a maximum of $1,000 per qualified employee, on its 2011 tax return.