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Workforce Development

Helping Employees Get their GED: The Improvements to Georgia Employer GED Tax Credit Act Now in Effect

Category: Workforce Development

Coastal Empire News Staff Report

August 14, 2015 – The Georgia Chamber of Commerce is reminding Georgia companies about the changes to the Georgia Employer GED Tax Credit Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Tanner of Dawsonville.

The new law revises the amount and training requirements of the adult basic skills education program tax credit for employers who help employees get their GED.  The law took effect May 1, 2015.  It increases the current tax credit of $150 per employee to a possible $1,200 for each employee that completes the required training classes and successfully passes the skills education test.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that individuals with a high school diploma earn $180 more per week than those individuals without.  Unemployment drops from 9% to 6% when this same level of educational attainment is achieved.  Under these averages, an individual could earn over $9,000 more per year in salary, which would result in a net tax revenue increase to the state.  If properly administered, this program should pay for itself on an annual basis, according to the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

For many individuals in service industry jobs, the lack of a high school diploma or GED is a significant factor in limiting career advancement.   Employers are often supportive of the efforts of their employees, but there are limited opportunities for workforce development within many of these existing industries.

The law revises and expands an existing state program that had been underutilized.   Under the previous program, employers would receive a $150 tax credit for paying for an employee’s GED.  However, many of the GED programs were significantly more expensive than $150 so few employers were taking advantage of the program.  The Georgia Employer GED Tax Credit Act raises the basic credit to $400 per employee who passes the basic GED test.  It further provides an expanded credit of $1200 per employee when that employee completes an approved training program while still being employed at his or her normal rate of pay.  This expanded program allows employers to fully invest in their employees’ education without disrupting their normal duties.

To participate in the tax credit program, an employer must submit an application to the Technical College System of Georgia- Office of Adult Education.  The Office of Adult Education pre-approves participation and ensures that the training is legitimate.  This certification will also allow the employer to claim the credit on their state income tax.  There are some limitations to this program that include: no single employer can receive more than $100,000 in a single calendar year, the credit may not exceed the employers income tax liability, and the total cost of the program may not exceed $1,000,000 per calendar year.

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