The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Finance Committee have introduced legislation to create job opportunities for veterans returning home from war by providing tax credits for businesses that hire them.

The legislation, introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and ranking member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, would reward employers that hire any qualified veteran who has recently completed their service in the military with a tax credit of up to $4,800 for disabled veterans and $2,400 for other qualifying veterans. The tax credit is equal to 40 percent of qualifying wages up to $6,000 for most veterans and up to $12,000 for disabled veterans.

The bill would eliminate the administrative burdens that make the current Work Opportunity Tax Credit provision for unemployed veterans difficult for small businesses to use. Servicemen and women who have been recently discharged would be able to provide documentation from the Department of Defense without having to go through the tax credit’s current certification process, which can be lengthy. Any recently discharged veteran who has discharge paperwork showing 180 days of qualified active duty would be eligible, including men and women who were activated by their states as members of the National Guard. The bill would also require the military to educate service members on how employers might qualify for the tax credit by hiring them. 

“Our servicemen and women put everything on the line — leaving their families, their homes and livelihoods to protect us,” said Baucus in a statement. “No veteran returning home from service and looking for work should be greeted with an unemployment check instead of a job.”

The unemployment rate among veterans who have served in the military since September 2001 far exceeds that of their civilian peers; 14.7 percent of post-9/11 veterans are unemployed. The rate of unemployment for veterans aged 18 to 24 is 30.2 percent, nearly double the rate for non-veterans of the same age.

“These men and women are extremely capable,” Grassley said. “They have a lot of skills to offer in the workplace. This legislation will clear some bureaucratic hurdles and add a financial incentive to encourage employers to seek out veterans. These steps are a logical follow-up to my effort to increase the IRS’s hiring of veterans. The IRS saw the value of this pool of potential workers and followed through on increased hiring of veterans. Other employers, including small businesses, should have similar opportunities.”

Baucus worked closely with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to craft the legislation. The IAVA, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other veteran service organizations are strong supporters of the legislation and have pledged to notify their members of the benefits of the legislation.

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