The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses of all sizes, forcing many to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.Employee Retention Bonus (ERB) is a way to keep businesses afloat.
The ERC is an refundable tax credit which businesses can claim for wages that were paid to their employees during the pandemic.It was designed to encourage businesses to continue to pay their employees even if normal operations are not possible.
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.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 CreditCan I Get The Employee Retention Credit
Employee Retention (ERC) Credit is a refundable credit that businesses may claim on wages paid during the COVID-19 pandemic.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.
ERC is open to businesses and organizations of all sizes.To be eligible for the ERC, a company must have had a significant fall in gross receipts and/or have been fully or partial suspended as a result of an COVID-19 government order.
ERCs can be a major financial boost for companies that have suffered from pandemic effects.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’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
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.
Businesses can claim the ERC even if they don’t owe taxes.Businesses may also claim ERCs on qualified wages for employees who cannot work because of COVID-19. These employees include those who are furloughed. Can I Get The Employee Retention Credit
Impact of ERCs on the Economy and Businesses
The ERC helped keep millions of Americans in employment during the COVID-19 Pandemic.The ERC has helped many businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is estimated that the ERC has saved more than 10 million jobs, and prevented hundreds of thousands of businesses from shutting their doors.The ERC also contributed positively to the recovery in terms of consumer spending as well as 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 test for a decline in gross receipts is the main difference between 2020 and 2021 ERC.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:
- Fully or partially suspended by a government order: A business that has been fully or partially suspended by a government order due to COVID-19 is eligible for the ERC.Businesses that are required to close down, operate with a reduced capacity or adhere to certain restrictions can be eligible for the ERC.
- 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.
Examples and Scenarios
The following are some scenarios and examples that will help you understand each eligibility criteria.
Fully or partially suspended by a government order:
- ERC can be claimed by a restaurant forced to shut down due to an order from the government.
- 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 can be awarded to a retail store that has experienced a 50% decrease in sales because 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.
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 credit depends on the number of employees and the quarter.
For 2020, a credit equal to 50 percent of wages paid to qualified employees is available up to a limit of $10,000.This could mean that an employer can get a credit up to $5,000 for 2020.
For the first quarters of 2021, the credit equals 70% of wages that are qualified. However, this is limited to $10,000 per quarter per employee.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.
Claim the Credit
How to Claim the ERC when Filing Federal Employment Tax Returns
For businesses to claim Employee Retention Credit on federal employment taxes, they must amend Form 941X – Adjusted Employer’s quarterly Federal Tax Return (or Claim for refund) – in order to do so, they will need to file Form 941X.This form can be submitted for any quarter where the business was entitled to the credit.
Options for Claiming the ERC in Advance
Businesses have three options to claim the ERC.
- Claim credit in advance. Businesses can claim credit in advance by reducing their quarterly deposits for employment tax.To do this, businesses must file Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits and Taxes, with the IRS.
- Businesses may also reduce their quarterly tax deposits on employment by the credit amount they expect.To reduce the deposits, businesses need to file IRS Form 941 and include the amount of credit that they expect to receive.
- 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 the amount of ERC by the credit rate is how the ERC amount is calculated.Credit rates are 50% in 2020 and 70% during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Businesses should avoid double-dipping on other relief programs.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 should keep detailed records detailing all qualified wages paid by employers to employees over the ERC.This will enable the business to calculate the credit amount accurately and provide evidence to support the claim, if audited. Can I Get The Employee Retention Credit
Here are some helpful tips on documenting your records and documents:
- All payroll records should be kept, including W-2s and Forms 941s.
- Keep track of all the hours worked by your employees including holidays, sick days, and vacations.
- Keep track of all the wages that employees receive, including overtime, bonuses, and base wages.
- Track any government orders which may have an impact on the business.
The IRS provides many resources to assist businesses in claiming the ERC. They include fact sheets, videos, and FAQs.Businesses can also contact the IRS for assistance 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):
- Government orders force restaurants to close
- Retail shops that have experienced a substantial decline in sales
- Due to disruptions in the supply chain, manufacturers are not able to operate at their full capacity
- Donations to nonprofit organizations have declined
- Hotels and other hospitality business
- Travel and Tourism Businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms, fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores that sell non-essential products
- Businesses required to operate under 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. Can I Get The Employee Retention Credit
Below are some specific examples on how businesses have utilized the ERC.
- A restaurant that had to close its doors for several weeks due to government orders was able, with the ERC, to keep all of its employees employed.
- A retail store that experienced a 50% decline in sales due to COVID-19 was able to use the ERC to offset its 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 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, some scammers take advantage of companies that qualify 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 signals and red flags that can help you to identify ERC scammers.
- They promise to get you a refund without reviewing your records.
- They charge you high upfront fees or a certain percentage of your refund.
- These salespeople use high-pressure tactics. Can I Get The Employee Retention Credit
- They are not affiliated with a reputable tax professional organization.
- Your personal or financial data is requested upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
If you have been contacted by an ERC scammer , you should notify the IRS .Call 1-800-829-1040 to report the scam or visit the IRS website.
Protecting personal information and financial data is equally important.Do not share your personal data with anyone who contacts uninvited.If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a business, you can look at their online reviews or ask for help from the IRS.
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.The ERC has been explained in detail, including the eligibility requirements and the claim process.
We also have some tips and materials for documenting your 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 an eligible employer, we encourage you to claim the credit and seek professional assistance if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Retention Credits
Can I Get The 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 to 50% the wages paid by employees to qualified employees in 2020. And 70% of the wages paid by employees to qualified employees in their first three quarters in 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 a qualified wage?
Included in qualifying wages are wages, salaries, and tips paid to employees.
Employer-paid health insurance premiums also qualify as wages.
How do I claim the ERC?
The IRS will accept amended Forms 941 and 941-X from businesses to claim the ERC.The amended Form 941 X must be submitted within three years from the original date of Form 941.
Do I have to pay back the 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, businesses can claim the ERC even if they received a PPP loan (Paycheck Protection Program).
The ERC cannot be claimed for wages used to obtain a PPP loan.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, self-employed individuals are eligible for the ERC.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofit organizations are eligible for the 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.
That said, there are some additional requirements that must be met before they can claim it.
What are the common mistakes businesses make when they claim ERC?
There are a few common mistakes that businesses should avoid when claiming an ERC. These include but are not restricted to
- The credit calculation is incorrect
- All wages are not included
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.