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.The ERC is intended to keep employees employed, even when businesses are unable operate normally.
If you own a small business and have been affected by the pandemic then the ERC will help you to keep your staff on board, as well as your business going.If you want to know more about the ERC or how to claim it visit the IRS’ website, consult a tax advisor or continue reading 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 CreditAlabama Employee Retention Credit
Employee Retention credit (ERC), a refundable income tax credit, is available to businesses for wages paid by them during the COVID-19 epidemic.The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act created the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) in March 2020. Its purpose is to assist businesses to keep their employees, even if the business is unable to function normally.
Businesses of all sizes can apply for the ERC, even those that are tax-exempt.For a business to be eligible, it must have suffered a significant decrease in gross revenues or been partially or completely suspended by a government order related to COVID-19.
The ERC is able to provide significant financial support for businesses affected by the pandemic.It can be used to help businesses keep their employees, cover their payroll costs and invest for the future.
Why was ERC formed?
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a severe economic recession, forcing many companies to layoff their employees or close 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.
ERCs can give businesses impacted by pandemics a financial boost.The ERC can help businesses retain employees, which is crucial for a rapid 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 the ERC for qualified wages paid to employees who are not working due to COVID-19, such as employees who are furloughed or quarantined. Alabama Employee Retention Credit
Impact of ERCs on the Economy and Businesses
The ERC was able to keep millions of Americans working during the COVID-19 pandemic.It also helped companies to weather the economic storm and remain afloat.
ERC was estimated to have saved 10 million jobs and prevented thousands of businesses from closing.It has also contributed to the economic recovery by boosting consumer spending and investment.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) can be claimed by businesses that have suffered a decline in gross sales or been suspended because of a COVID-19 government order.
The main difference between the 2020 and 2021 ERC requirements is the gross receipts decline test.In 2020, an enterprise must have suffered a significant drop in gross receipts that is at least 50 percent less than the same period in the previous calendar year.In 2021 an enterprise must have seen a decline in gross revenue of atleast 20% in comparison to the same period in the previous year.
Business can qualify in two ways for the ERC
- ERC eligibility is based on whether the business has been suspended completely or in part due to COVID-19.This includes businesses that have been ordered to close, operate at a reduced capacity, or follow certain restrictions.
- Significant decline in gross revenues: Businesses that have experienced a significant drop in gross revenue due to COVID-19 are also eligible for ERC.Significant decline in Gross Receipts: A business that has experienced a significant decline in its gross receipts due to COVID-19 is also eligible for the ERC.
Below are examples and scenarios that illustrate each of the eligibility criteria:
Fully or partially suspended by a government order:
- ERC is available to restaurants that are forced to close by a government order.
- ERC may be available for a gym which is forced to operate at reduced capacity by a COVID-19 government order.
Significant decline in gross receipts:
- A retail store that experiences a 50% decline in sales due to COVID-19 is eligible for the ERC.
- ERC is available to manufacturers who are unable to run at full capacity because of supply chain disruptions.
Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC), is a credit for businesses that can be claimed on qualified wages paid by employers to their employees during COVID-19.The amount of the credit is dependent on the business’s quarter and employees.
The credit for 2020 is equal 50% of the wages qualified to be paid to employees. This maximum can reach $10,000 per employee.This means that a business could receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee for 2020.
For the three first quarters of the year 2021, the credit is equal to 70% of the wages qualified to be paid. There is a limit of $10,000 per employee per quarter.For the first 3 quarters in 2021, an employer could receive up to $7,000 per employee each quarter. That’s up $21,000 per worker for the whole year.
How to Claim ERC for Federal Employment Tax Returns
Businesses must amend Form 941X, Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Income Tax Return or Claim For Refund, to claim the Employee retention credit (ERC) in federal employment tax returns.This form can be filed for any quarter in which the business was eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses can claim the ERC in three ways:
- Claim the credit in advance: Businesses can claim the credit in advance by reducing their quarterly employment tax deposits.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 must submit Form 941 to the IRS, indicating the amount they want to reduce their deposit by.
- Request a refund: Businesses that have already paid their employment taxes can request a refund of the credit by filing Form 941-X with the IRS.
Calculating the Amount of the Credit and Avoiding Double-dipping with Other Relief Programs
The ERC is calculated as the product of the employee’s qualified wage multiplied by the applicable credit rates.The credit rate for 2020 is 50% and for the first quarter of 2021, it’s 70%.
Avoid double-dipping when it comes to other relief programs.Businesses cannot, for example, claim the ERC on wages they also claim as part of the Paid Family Medical Leave Credit and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
Tips and Resources for Recordkeeping and Documentation
Businesses should maintain detailed records of the wages they paid to their employees during the ERC.This will allow businesses to calculate accurately the amount of credit they are entitled to and support their claim in the event that it is audited. Alabama Employee Retention Credit
Here are some tips on recordkeeping and documentation.
- Keep a record of all your payroll documents, such as W-2 forms and 941s.
- Keep track of every employee’s hours, including sick time, holiday, and vacation.
- Track all employee wages, including bonuses, overtime, and base pay.
- Keep track of all government orders that affect your business.
The IRS provides a variety of resources to help businesses claim the ERC, including FAQs, fact sheets, and videos.Businesses can also call 1-800-829-1040 to get help from the IRS.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic can apply for the Employee Retention Credit.The following are examples of businesses that may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC):
- Restaurants forced to shut down due to government order
- Retail stores who experienced a significant drop in sales
- Manufacturers unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions
- Non-profit organizations who saw their donations decrease
- Hotels and other hospitality enterprises
- Travel and tourism business
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores that sell non-essential products
- Businesses required to operate under reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety protocols
- Businesses that experienced increased costs due to COVID-19
These examples are not the only ones that qualify. Any business that has been suspended in whole or part by an order of government or that has seen a decline in gross sales due to COVID-19 could also be eligible. Alabama Employee Retention Credit
Here are a few examples of specific ways businesses have used their ERC:
- A restaurant, which was forced to close due to an order from the government for a period of several months, was able use the ERC in order to keep their employees on the payroll.
- An ERC offset the payroll costs of a retail shop that saw a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- A manufacturer that was unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions was able to use the ERC to keep its employees on payroll and continue to produce essential goods.
- The ERC allowed a nonprofit organization to continue providing essential services despite a decline in donations due to COVID-19.
You should contact a professional tax advisor if, as a small business owner, you have any doubts about your eligibility for the ERC.They can help determine your eligibility as well as claim the credit for you if you’re eligible.
Risks of ERC Scams and Aggressive Marketing
Unfortunately, there are scammers that try to take advantage business owners who are eligible for Employee Retention Credits (ERC).Scammers will use aggressive marketing techniques to get businesses to sign up, even if they are not eligible for ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
There are warning signs that could indicate an ERC scammer.
- They guarantee to refund your money without looking into your records.
- The fees are high, or they take a large percentage of the refund.
- Sales tactics are high-pressure. Alabama Employee Retention Credit
- They are not affiliated to a reputable organization of tax professionals.
- You will be asked to provide your personal information or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
If you are contacted by an ERC scammer, you should report the activity to the IRS.This can be done by calling 1-800-829-1040, or visiting the IRS’s website.
It is important to safeguard your personal and financial data.Never give out personal information to someone who contacts you without your permission.If you are unsure whether or not a business is legitimate, you can check their reviews online or contact the IRS for assistance.
In this article, we have discussed the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), a tax relief program that helps eligible employers keep their employees on payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.We have explained the eligibility requirements, the claiming process, and the potential scams related to the ERC.
Also, we have provided some resources and tips for documenting and keeping records.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 eligible, we encourage to claim credit. Professional assistance may be needed if required.
Employee Retention Credit Frequently Asked Questions:
Alabama Employee Retention Credit
What is ERC?
Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic can claim a refundable credit.
This credit is equal in value to 50% of wages qualified to be paid in 2020. It is also equal in value to 70% of wages qualified to be paid in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
Who can receive the ERC?
Businesses that have experienced a significant drop in gross receipts or those that were suspended or fully suspended by government orders due to the COVID-19 epidemic are eligible for the ERC.
What is a qualified wage?
The wages that qualify as wages include salaries, wages, tips, and bonuses.
The employer’s health insurance premiums are also included in the calculation of wages.
How can I claim my ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC by submitting an amended Form 941 to the IRS.The amended Form 941X must be filed no later than three years after the original Form 941.
Do I need to repay the ERC?
No, the ERC is a refundable tax credit, which means that businesses do not need to repay it.
Can I claim the ERC if I received a PPP loan?
You can still claim an ERC even though you received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Programme (PPP).
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.
Schedule C forms can be claimed by individuals who are self-employed.
Can non-profit organisations claim ERC?
Nonprofit organizations can apply for the ERC.
Nonprofits may claim ERCs on their Form 990T.
Can companies with a foreign subsidiary claim ERC?
Yes, employers can claim ERC when they pay wages to foreign employees.
It is important to note that there are additional requirements for claiming the tax credit.
Are there common mistakes that businesses make when claiming ERC to watch out for?
You should be on the lookout for these common mistakes when businesses claim their ERC.
- The credit calculation is incorrect
- All wages are not included
- The failure to amend Form 941-X in time.