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On March 18, President Obama signed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (“HIRE”) — the government’s latest $17.5 billion effort to reduce unemployment and jumpstart the job market. Also known as the “Jobs Bill,” HIRE provides significant tax incentives for “qualified” employers who hire previously unemployed or part-time “qualified employees.” Employers may receive a 6.2 percent payroll tax exemption for the employer’s share of Social Security taxes and may also receive a “retention credit” — a tax credit of up to $1,000 — for each newly hired worker if the employee remains employed for at least one year. The optimistic goal is to provide hiring incentives to restore jobs lost in the economic downturn. While noble in purpose, it is imperative for employers to understand what is required to obtain the bill’s benefits, so they can structure their tax, payroll and human resources departments and fiscally plan for the remainder of the year.

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