COVID-19 has caused massive damage to businesses of every size, with many being forced to cut staff or shut down their doors.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’s designed to help employers keep their employees, even if the business is unable to function normally.
If you are a business owner who has been impacted by the pandemic, the ERC can help you keep your employees on board and your business afloat.For more information on the ERC and how to apply for it, you can visit the IRS site, talk with a professional 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 CreditCalifornia Conformity Employee Retention Credit
Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC), also known as the Employee Retention Tax Credit, is a refundable tax credit that employers can claim for qualifying wages paid to their employees during COVID-19.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 be eligible, a business must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts or have been fully or partially suspended due to a COVID-19-related government order.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted 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.
Benefits of the ERC
ERC can be a major financial boost for businesses who have been affected by the pandemic.The ERC can help businesses retain employees, which is crucial for a rapid recovery.
Businesses can claim the ERC even if they don’t owe taxes.Businesses can claim the ERC on wages paid to employees that are not working because of COVID-19. This includes employees who have been furloughed, quarantined, or are otherwise not allowed to work. California Conformity Employee Retention Credit
Impact of ERC on Business and the Economy
The ERC kept millions of Americans employed throughout the COVID-19 epidemic.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 primary difference between ERC requirements for 2020 and 2021 is a test of gross receipts decline.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 a business will have to experience a significant decrease in gross revenues of at least 20 percent compared with the same quarter last year.
Two ways exist for businesses to qualify for the ERC:
- ERC is available to businesses that have been suspended in whole or part by government orders 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 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 decline in gross revenues is defined as at least a 50% decline in a quarterly in 2020, or at least a 20% decline in a quarterly in 2021 when compared with the same quarter the previous year.
Examples and Scenarios
Here are some examples and scenarios to illustrate each eligibility criterion:
A government order can suspend a person’s rights in full or part
- ERC can be claimed by a restaurant forced to shut down due to an order from the government.
- ERC eligibility is granted to a gym that must operate at a lower capacity as a result of a government order relating to COVID-19.
Significant decline in gross receipts:
- ERC is available to retail stores that experience a 50% drop in sales as a result of COVID-19.
- ERC eligibility is for a manufacturer who is not able to operate at maximum capacity due to disruptions in the supply chain.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit that businesses can claim for qualified wages paid to employees during 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 means that a business could receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee 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.A business could receive credit up to $7000 per employee, per quarter for the three first quarters of the year 2021.
Claim the Credit
How to Claim ERC on 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 also be filed for any other quarters in which a business may have been eligible for credit.
Options for Claiming the ERC in Advance
Businesses have three choices for claiming ERCs:
- Claim the credit in advance: Businesses can claim the credit in advance by reducing their quarterly employment tax deposits.To do this, business must file IRS Form 7220, Advance Payment for Employer Credits & Taxes.
- Reduce employment taxes deposits. Businesses are also able to reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount expected credit.Businesses can do this by filing Form 941 and indicating how much they will reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits.
- Businesses that already pay their employment taxes to the IRS can request a reimbursement of the credit. To do this, they must file Form 941X.
Calculating the Credit Amount and Avoiding Double-dipping with Other Relief Programs
Multiplying employee wages with the applicable credit rate will give you the ERC.The credit rate is 50% for 2020 and 70% for the first three quarters of 2021.
Avoid double-dipping when it comes to other relief programs.For example, businesses cannot claim the ERC for wages that are also used to claim the Paid Family and Medical Leave Credit or the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
Tips and Resources for Recordkeeping and Documentation
Keep detailed records for all wages that were paid to employees in the ERC period.This will assist businesses in accurately calculating the amount they are entitled for as well as supporting their claim if the IRS audits it. California Conformity Employee Retention Credit
Here are a few tips for documenting and keeping records:
- Keep a copy of all records of your payroll, including the W-2 and Form 941.
- Keep track at all times of employee hours, including vacation, sick and holiday leave.
- Keep track of every wage paid to an employee, including the base salary, bonuses, and overtime.
- Track any government orders which may have an impact on the business.
The IRS offers many resources for businesses to claim the ERC. This includes FAQs and fact sheets.Businesses can also contact the IRS for assistance by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for the Employee retention credit (ERC).Here are some businesses that could be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants closed due to government orders
- Retail stores that saw a significant fall 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 businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Retail shops selling non-essential items
- Businesses who were forced to operate with a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety protocols
- Businesses that experienced increased costs due to COVID-19
Aside from these examples, businesses that have been fully or partly suspended by a government directive or who have experienced a significant drop in gross receipts as a result of COVID-19 are also eligible for ERC. California Conformity 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.
- The ERC was used by a retail store to offset payroll costs after it experienced a 50% drop in sales as a result 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.
- A nonprofit that saw their donations decrease due to COVID-19, was able to utilize the ERC and keep its employees employed to continue to provide vital services.
Contact a tax expert if you’re a business owner who is unsure if you qualify for the ERC.They can help determine your eligibility as well as claim the credit for you if you’re eligible.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, some scammers take advantage of companies that qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers use aggressive marketing to convince businesses to subscribe to their services even if that business isn’t eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warning signals and red flags that can help you to identify ERC scammers.
- They guarantee to refund your money without looking into your records.
- They charge high fees upfront or take a portion of your refund.
- The salespeople are aggressive and use high-pressure tactics. California Conformity Employee Retention Credit
- They are not affiliated with a reputable tax professional organization.
- Some companies will ask for personal or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activity and Protecting Personal Data
If you are contacted by an ERC fraudster, you must report this activity to the IRS.This can be done by calling 1-800-829-1040, or visiting the IRS’s website.
You should also be careful to protect your personal and financial information.Do not share your personal data with anyone who contacts uninvited.If you want to know if a particular business is legit, check online reviews. Or contact the IRS.
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 explained the eligibility requirements, the claiming process, and the potential scams related to the ERC.
We’ve also included some resources and advice on recordkeeping.The ERC offers employers a valuable opportunity to reduce their tax liabilities, improve cash flow and support the workforce.We encourage eligible employers to claim this credit and, if necessary, seek professional help.
Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Retention Credits
California Conformity Employee Retention Credit
What is ERC?
This is a tax credit that can be refunded to businesses who were affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
This credit is equal 50% of qualified wage paid to employees for 2020 and 70% qualified wage paid to employees during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Who is eligible to apply for 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 qualified wage?
The wages that qualify as wages include salaries, wages, tips, and bonuses.
Employer-paid health insurance premiums also qualify as 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 submitted within three years from the original date of Form 941.
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?
Yes, even if you have received a Loan Protection Program (PPP) for your business.
Businesses cannot claim ERCs for wages they also claimed as PPPs.
Can self-employed people claim the ERC?
Yes, self-employed individuals are eligible for the ERC.
Schedule C forms can be claimed by individuals who are self-employed.
Can non-profit organisations claim ERC?
Yes, organizations that are not for profit can qualify for the ERC.
Nonprofit organizations can claim the ERC on their Form 990-T form.
Can companies with a foreign subsidiary claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC for the wages they pay to foreign-based employees.
It is important to note that there are additional requirements for claiming the tax credit.
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
- Credit calculation error
- Inclusion of all eligible wages
- Failure to amend form 941 – X on time.