COVID-19, a pandemic that has affected businesses of all types and sizes, has forced many to either lay off staff or close their business.But there is a lifeline available to help businesses stay afloat: the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).
The ERC is a refundable tax credit that businesses can claim on qualified wages paid to employees during the pandemic.It is designed to help businesses keep their employees on payroll, even if they are unable to operate normally.
The ERC may be able to help keep your employees and business afloat if your company has been impacted.To learn more about the ERC and how to claim it, visit the IRS website, speak with a tax advisor, or read below
For a brief reading of what the Employee Retention Credit or ERC is, take a look at this video from the YouTube channel “ERC Specialists”. You can also continue below to read an in-depth explanation of ERC.
The Employee Retention CreditAccelerate America Employee Retention Credit
Employee Retention (ERC) Credit is a refundable credit that businesses may claim on wages paid during the COVID-19 pandemic.It was created in March of 2020 by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to help employers keep their workers on the payroll, despite the fact that they may not have been able to operate normally.
ERCs can be obtained by businesses of any size, including those exempt from tax.To qualify, the business must have seen a significant reduction in gross sales or be suspended fully or partly due to an order from the government related to COVID-19.
The ERC provides a financial boost for businesses that are affected by pandemic.It can help businesses to retain employees, pay for payroll, and invest in the future.
Why was the ERC created?
The COVID-19 outbreak caused an economic slump that led many businesses, including small and large ones, to either lay off staff or shut down.The ERC’s purpose was to keep employees on the payroll so that businesses could quickly reopen their doors and resume normal operation once the COVID-19 pandemic had subsided.
The ERC is a great way to boost the finances of businesses affected by pandemics.It can also assist businesses in retaining their employees. This is vital for a fast recovery.
The ERC is also a refundable credit. This means that businesses are able to claim it, even if there are no taxes due.Businesses can also claim ERC for wages paid by employers to employees who do not work due to COVID-19. Examples include employees who were furloughed and quarantined. Accelerate America Employee Retention Credit
Impact of ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC helped keep millions of Americans in employment during the COVID-19 Pandemic.It has also helped businesses to stay afloat and weather the economic storm.
It is estimated that the ERC has saved more than 10 million jobs, and prevented hundreds of thousands of businesses from shutting their doors.It also contributed to the recovery of the economy by increasing consumer spending, and investing.
The only difference between ERC 2020 requirements and those of 2021 is the test for gross receipts.In 2020, the business must have seen a decline of gross receipts by at least 50% in comparison to the same quarter the year before.In 2021, a business must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts of at least 20% compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
There are two ways that businesses can qualify for ERC:
- ERC for a business suspended fully or partly by a Government Order: An ERC can be awarded to a business that is suspended either completely or partially by an order of the government due COVID-19.This includes businesses who have been ordered closed, to operate at a lower capacity, or to follow certain restrictions.
- Significant decline in Gross Receipts: An eligible business who has suffered a significant decrease in gross receipts as a result of COVID-19 may also be eligible for ERC.Significant declines in gross receipts are defined as a drop of at least 50% or 20% from the same quarter last year.
Examples and Scenarios
These examples and scenarios illustrate the criteria for each:
Orders from the government can be used to suspend or fully suspend your work.
- ERC is available to restaurants that are forced to close by a government order.
- ERC can be awarded to a fitness center that has to operate on a reduced basis due to an order from the government based on COVID-19.
Significant decline in gross receipts:
- ERC can be awarded to a retail store that has experienced a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- ERCs are available for manufacturers that cannot operate at their full capacity as a result of disruptions in supply chains.
Employee Retention Credit is a tax deduction that businesses may claim on wages they paid employees in the COVID-19 pandemic.The amount of credit depends on the number of employees and the quarter.
In 2020, the credit will be equal to half of all wages that employees are entitled to receive up to $10,000.This could mean that an employer can get a credit up to $5,000 for 2020.
The credit for the first three quarters of 2021 is 70% of the qualified wages paid by employees. This maximum amount per employee per quarter is $10,000.This means a company could receive a credit for up to $7,000 for each employee per quarter in the first three months of 2021. The total for the entire year is up to $21,000.
Claim your Credit
How to Claim ERC in Federal Employment Taxreturn
To claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) on federal employment tax returns, businesses must file an amended Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund.This form may be used for any quarter that the business is eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC in Advance
Businesses can claim the ERC in three ways:
- Claim the credit ahead of time: Businesses may claim the credit by reducing the quarterly employment tax deposit.For this to happen, businesses will need to submit IRS Form 7200 – Advance Payment of Taxes and Employer Credits.
- Businesses can also reduce the quarterly employment tax deposit by the amount that they expect to get.Businesses can do this by filing Form 941 and indicating how much they will reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits.
- Request a Refund: Businesses who have already paid their Employment Taxes can request to receive a refund for the credit by submitting Form 941X to the IRS.
Calculating the Amount of the Credit and Avoiding Double-dipping with Other Relief Programs
Multiplying qualified wages by the credit rate applicable, the ERC can be calculated.The credit rates for 2020 are 50% and 70% in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
Businesses should be aware of the dangers of double-dipping.Businesses can’t, for instance, claim ERC wages if they also claim Paid Family Leave Credit (PFML) or Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
Tips and Resources for Recordkeeping and Documenation
Businesses must keep detailed records on all wages paid during the ERC.This will enable businesses to accurately determine the amount of credit that they are eligible for, and to back up their claim should it be audited. Accelerate America Employee Retention Credit
Here are some tips for recordkeeping and documentation:
- All payroll records should be kept, including W-2s and Forms 941s.
- Keep track of the hours that employees work, including sick leave, vacation time, and holidays.
- Keep track of every wage paid to an employee, including the base salary, bonuses, and overtime.
- Keep track of all government orders that affect your business.
IRS provides various resources, such as fact sheets and videos, to help businesses claim the ERC.Businesses can also call 1-800-829-1040 to get help from the IRS.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is available to businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.These are some examples of businesses who may qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants forced to close due to government orders
- Retail stores who experienced a significant drop in sales
- Manufacturing companies are unable to reach full capacity because of supply chain disruptions
- Donations to nonprofit organizations have declined
- Hotels and hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism business
- Entertainment and Event Businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms, fitness studios
- Salons & spas
- Stores that sell non-essential merchandise
- Businesses that had to operate on a lower capacity
- Businesses forced to adopt new safety protocols and measures
- Businesses who experienced higher costs due to COVID-19
ERCs may be awarded to any business, including those that were fully or partially closed by a government order and/or experienced a significant decrease in gross receipts because of COVID-19. Accelerate America Employee Retention Credit
Here are some specific examples of how businesses have used the ERC:
- The ERC allowed a restaurant to retain its staff after it was forced to shut down for several months by government order.
- A retail outlet that suffered a 50% sales decline due to COVID-19, was able to use ERC to offset their payroll costs.
- The ERC allowed a manufacturer who was not able to operate at its full capacity because of supply chain disruptions to continue producing essential goods and keep their employees on the payroll.
- A nonprofit organization that saw its donations decline due to COVID-19 was able to use the ERC to keep its employees on payroll and continue to provide essential services.
If you are a business owner and you are unsure whether or not you are eligible for the ERC, I encourage you to contact a tax professional.They can determine your qualification and help you claim the credit.
Risks of ERC Scams and Aggressive Marketing
Unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage businesses who qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers might use aggressive advertising tactics to convince businesses that they should sign up for their service, even though the business may not be eligible for ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warning signs and red flags to identify potential ERC scammers:
- They guarantee to refund your money without looking into your records.
- You will be charged high fees upfront, or a percentage of your refund.
- Sales tactics are high-pressure. Accelerate America Employee Retention Credit
- They aren’t affiliated with an established tax professional association.
- You will be asked to provide your personal information or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
If you’re contacted by an ERC con artist, then you should report their activity to IRS.You can do this by calling 1-800-829-1040 or by visiting the IRS website.
Protecting personal information and financial data is equally important.Never give out personal information to someone who contacts you without your permission.You can find reviews of a company online, or you can contact the IRS if you’re unsure.
In this article, the Employee Retention credit (ERC) is discussed. It’s a tax relief program that helps eligible employers retain their employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.We have outlined the ERC’s eligibility requirements, its claim process, as well as the possible scams.
We have also provided some tips and resources for recordkeeping and documentation.The ERC is a valuable benefit that can help employers reduce their employment tax liability, improve their cash flow, and support their workforce.If you are an eligible employer, we encourage you to claim the credit and seek professional assistance if needed.
Employee Retention Credit: Frequently Asked Questions
Accelerate America Employee Retention Credit
What is ERC?
Businesses affected by COVID-19 can apply for a refundable income tax credit.
This credit equals 50% of the qualified wages that employees received in 2020, and 70% of the qualified wages they receive in the first quarter of 2021.
Who is eligible for ERC funding?
Eligible businesses for the ERC include those who experienced a significant decline in gross receipts or were fully or partially suspended due to government orders caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is qualified wage?
Salary, wages, bonuses, and tips are all considered to be wages.
The employer’s health insurance premiums are also included in the calculation of wages.
How do I claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC by submitting an amended Form 941 to the IRS.The amended Form 941-X must be filed within three years of the date the original Form 941 was filed.
Do I have to repay my ERC?
The ERC, however, is a non-refundable tax credit.
Can I claim ERC if I received a loan from PPP?
Businesses can still claim the ERC if they have received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
Businesses can’t claim ERC on wages they used for PPP loans.
Can self-employed people claim the ERC?
Yes, you can get the ERC if you are a self-employed individual.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can nonprofit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofits are eligible for ERC.
Nonprofit organizations are eligible to claim the ERC when filing their Forms 990-T.
Can companies with a foreign subsidiary claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC for wages paid by foreign subsidiaries to their employees.
Before you can get it, however, you must meet some additional requirements.
Are there any common mistakes made by businesses when claiming ERC that they should be on the lookout for?
Some common mistakes businesses need to watch out for when claiming their ERC include but are not limited to
- Incorrect credit calculation
- Failure to include all qualified wages
- Failure to amend form 941 – X on time.