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.The Employee Retention Credit can be a lifeline for businesses struggling to stay afloat.
It is a refundable credit that can be claimed by employers on certain wages paid to employees in the event of a pandemic.It is designed to help businesses keep their employees on payroll, even if they are unable to 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 CreditCalifornia 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.It was created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, in March 2020, to help companies keep their employees, despite being unable operate normally.
The ERC is available to businesses of all sizes, including tax-exempt organizations.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 be used to help businesses keep their employees, cover their payroll costs and invest for 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 is designed to help keep businesses open and their employees working so that they can resume normal operations as soon as the pandemic subsides.
Benefits of the ERC
ERC can be a major financial boost for businesses who have been affected by the pandemic.It can also be used to retain staff, which is important for a swift 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 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 Employee Retention Credit
Impact of ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC has helped to keep millions of Americans employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.It also helped businesses weather the storm and stay afloat.
ERC may have prevented the closure of hundreds of thousands of businesses and saved over 10,000,000 jobs.The ERC also contributed positively to the recovery in terms of consumer spending as well as investment.
For businesses affected by COVID-19, the Employee Retention Credit can help them retain their employees.
The only difference between ERC 2020 requirements and those of 2021 is the test for gross receipts.In order to qualify for the 2020 ERC, businesses must have had a substantial decline in gross revenues of at least half compared with the same quarter last year.In 2021, an organization must have suffered a significant drop in gross receipts by at least 20% from the same quarter the year before.
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.Businesses ordered to close, reduce capacity or comply with certain restrictions are eligible for ERC.
- 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 revenue are defined as a decrease of at minimum 50% in 2020 quarters or at most 20% in 2021 quarters compared to same quarters the year before.
The following are some scenarios and examples that will help you understand each eligibility criteria.
Full or partial suspension by government order
- ERC may be available for a restaurant that has to close because of a government directive.
- The ERC is available to gyms that are required to operate with a reduced capacity because of a COVID-19-related government order.
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 can be awarded to a manufacturer who cannot operate at full capability due to disruptions to the supply chain.
Employee Retention credit (ERC), a tax-credit that businesses can claim, is for wages paid to qualified employees during the COVID-19 epidemic.The amount varies depending on how many employees are employed and what quarter it is.
Credits for 2020 are equal to 50% the qualified wages paid by employees, up to a maximum amount of $10,000 per employee.For 2020, a business may receive a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee.
Credits are equal to 70% of qualified wages for the first 3 quarters of 2020, with a maximum per employee of $10,000.A business could receive credit up to $7000 per employee, per quarter for the three first quarters of the year 2021.
How to Claim the ERC on Federal Employment Tax Returns
Businesses that wish to claim the Employee Retention credit (ERC), on their federal employment tax returns must use Form 941-X, Revised Employer’s Quarterly Tax Return, or Claim for Refund.This form is applicable to any quarter during which the business qualifies for the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses have three options to claim the ERC.
- Claim the credit in advance: Businesses can claim the credit in advance by reducing their quarterly employment tax deposits.To do this, businesses must file Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits and Taxes, with the IRS.
- Businesses can reduce their quarterly deposits for employment tax by the amount they anticipate receiving.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 Amount of the Credit and Avoiding Double-dipping with Other Relief Programs
The amount of the ERC is calculated by multiplying the qualified wages paid to employees by the applicable credit rate.The credit rate for 2020 is 50% and for the first quarter of 2021, it’s 70%.
Businesses should be careful to avoid double-dipping with 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. California Employee Retention Credit
Here are some helpful tips on documenting your records and documents:
- Keep a copy of all payroll records, including W-2 forms and Form 941s.
- Keep track of all the hours worked by your employees including holidays, sick days, and vacations.
- Keep track of all wages paid to employees, including base wages, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Keep track of any government orders that affected the business’s operations.
The IRS provides a variety of resources to help businesses claim the ERC, including FAQs, fact sheets, and videos.Businesses can contact IRS for help by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses affected by the COVID-19 virus can claim an Employee Retention credit (ERC).The following are examples of businesses that may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC):
- Restaurants forced to close due to government orders
- Retail stores that saw a significant fall in sales
- Due to disruptions in the supply chain, manufacturers are not able to operate at their full capacity
- Donations for nonprofit organizations are down
- Hotels and hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism businesses
- Entertainment and Event Businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms, fitness studios
- Salons, spas
- Retail stores that sell non-essential products
- Businesses who were forced to operate with a reduced capacity
- Businesses that were forced to implement new safety measures and protocols
- Businesses who experienced higher costs due to COVID-19
The ERC may also be available to businesses that were suspended or partially by government orders or experienced a substantial decline in gross revenues due to COVID-19. California Employee Retention Credit
Here are some examples of how companies have used the ERC in specific situations:
- A restaurant that was forced to close for several months due to a government order was able to use the ERC to keep its employees on the payroll.
- A retail outlet that suffered a 50% sales decline due to COVID-19, was able to use ERC to offset their payroll costs.
- ERC allows a company to maintain its workforce and produce essential products despite being unable to run at full capacity.
- A nonprofit organization whose donations declined due to COVID-19 used the ERC to retain its employees and continue providing essential services.
If you own a company and are not sure if you are eligible, I recommend that you contact a qualified tax professional.You can get help from a tax professional to determine your eligibility for the ERC and claim it if eligible.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Scammers are targeting businesses eligible for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers may use aggressive marketing tactics to try to convince businesses to sign up for their services, even if the business is not eligible for the ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warning signs and red flags to identify potential ERC scammers:
- They promise you will get a refund even if they don’t review your records.
- They charge high upfront fees or a percentage of your refund.
- The salespeople are aggressive and use high-pressure tactics. California Employee Retention Credit
- They are not members of a reputable professional tax organization.
- They ask for your personal or financial information upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activity and Protecting Personal Data
If you’re contacted by an ERC con artist, then you should report their activity to IRS.Call 1-800-829-1040 to report the scam or visit the IRS 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, 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.The ERC has been explained in detail, including the eligibility requirements and the claim process.
We’ve also included some resources and advice on recordkeeping.ERCs are a valuable tool that employers can use to lower their employment tax liability and improve their cash flow. They also help support their workforce.If you are an eligible employer, we encourage you to claim the credit and seek professional assistance if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Retention Credits
California Employee Retention Credit
What is ERC?
It is a refundable tax credit available to businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees in 2020 and 70% of qualified wages paid to employees in the first three quarters of 2021.
Who can receive the ERC?
Eligible business for the ERC includes those who suffered a significant reduction in gross receipts due to government order caused by COVID-19.
What is a qualified wage?
Salary, wages, bonuses, and tips are all considered to be wages.
Health insurance premiums paid by the employer are also considered qualified wages.
How do I claim the ERC?
Businesses can claim ERCs by filing amended Forms 941 or 941-X at 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 does not require repayment by businesses. It is a tax credit that can be used to offset future taxes.
Can I claim the ERC if I received a PPP loan?
Yes, even if you have received a Loan Protection Program (PPP) for your business.
Businesses cannot claim the ERC for wages that were also used to claim the PPP loan.
Can self-employed individuals claim the ERC?
Self-employed individuals can apply for the ERC.
Schedule C is the form that self-employed people can use to claim their ERC.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, organizations that are not for profit can qualify for the ERC.
Nonprofits can claim ERC on Form 990 T.
Can companies that have a foreign subsidiary claim ERC benefits?Can companies who have a foreign branch claim ERC?
Yes, employers can claim ERC when they pay wages to foreign employees.
That said, there are some additional requirements that must be met before they can claim it.
Are there any common mistakes made by businesses when claiming ERC that they should be on the lookout for?
The following are some common mistakes to avoid by businesses when claiming the ERC:
- Incorrect credit calculation
- Inclusion of all eligible wages
- Failure to amend Form 941-X on time.