Telework tax aid has few takers

ATLANTA --- The number of employers seeking state tax credits up to $20,000 for allowing their employees to telecommute dropped by about half this year, despite months of record-high gas prices and a souring economy.


Only 56 employers applied to receive the state's telecommuting tax credit for the 2009 tax year, the credit's second and final year. It's a significant drop from the 135 employers who sought and received the credit for 2008.

Mike Williams, who helped employers apply for the credit on behalf of the Clean Air Campaign, said a number of employers might have been hard-pressed to predict how many employees they would have working from home in the coming year, as the state requires. Given the economy, many might have to freeze hiring or eliminate positions.

"There was just so much uncertainty around that they felt they couldn't do it," Mr. Williams said.

How many employers will actually receive the credit in 2008 is also unknown since none have filed returns, said Charles Willey, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Revenue. Those who applied for 2008 may share nearly $2 million in tax credits.

The telecommuting credit offered $1,200 per employee who telecommutes for part of the workweek, with a maximum of $20,000 per employer. The total amount of credits the state would give was capped at $2 million.

Legislation creating the credit was passed in 2006. State Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Augusta, was among its co-sponsors.

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