COVID-19 has caused massive damage to businesses of every size, with many being forced to cut staff or shut down their doors.The Employee Retention Credit can be a lifeline for businesses struggling to stay afloat.
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 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 CreditClaiming Employee Retention Credit Retroactively
Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit for businesses that can be claimed if they pay employees wages during the COVID-19 Pandemic.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.
ERC is open to businesses and organizations of all sizes.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.
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 ERC formed?
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
ERC can offer a significant boost in financial support to businesses impacted negatively by the pandemic.The ERC can help businesses retain employees, which is crucial for a rapid recovery.
The ERC is a refundable tax credit, meaning that businesses can claim it even if they do not owe any taxes.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. Claiming Employee Retention Credit Retroactively
Impact of ERCs on the Economy and Businesses
The ERC has helped to keep millions of Americans employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.The ERC also helped to keep businesses afloat through the economic storm.
The ERC is estimated to have saved over 10 million jobs and prevented hundreds of thousands of businesses from closing their doors.It has also contributed towards the economic recovery through a boost in consumer spending and investment.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit available to businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 primary difference between ERC requirements for 2020 and 2021 is a test of gross receipts decline.In 2020, a business must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts of at least 50% compared to the same quarter in the previous year.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:
- 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.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 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.
Examples and Scenarios
The following are some scenarios and examples that will help you understand each eligibility criteria.
An order of the government may suspend all or part of a program.
- ERC will cover a restaurant which is forced to close down by government orders.
- 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 credit (ERC), a tax-credit that businesses can claim, is for wages paid to qualified employees during the COVID-19 epidemic.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.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.For the first three-quarters of 2021, a business can receive up to $7,000 in credit per employee. This could amount to up to $21,000 for each employee.
How to Claim the 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 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 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.To do so, businesses must fill out Form 941 at the IRS. They will need to indicate how much credit they intend to reduce.
- 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
The ERC is calculated as the product of the employee’s qualified wage multiplied by the applicable credit rates.The credit rate is 50% for 2020 and 70% for the first three quarters of 2021.
Businesses should be careful to avoid double-dipping with 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
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. Claiming Employee Retention Credit Retroactively
Here are a couple of tips to help you with your recordkeeping:
- 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.
- Keep track of any orders from the government that may affect your business.
The IRS offers a number of resources that can help businesses claim their ERC. These include FAQs, factsheets, and videos.Businesses can contact IRS for help by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is available to businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.Following are some of the businesses that might be eligible to receive the Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants forced to shut down due to government order
- Retail stores which experienced a significant decrease in sales
- Supply chain disruptions prevent manufacturers from operating at full capacity
- Non-profit organizations who saw their donations decrease
- Hotels and other hospitality business
- Travel and tourism businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Fitness studios and gyms
- Salons & spas
- Retail shops selling non-essential items
- Businesses that had to operate on a lower capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety protocols
- Businesses that have experienced an increase in costs as a result 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. Claiming Employee Retention Credit Retroactively
Here are some examples of how companies have used the ERC in specific situations:
- An employee of a restaurant forced to close down by government order for a few months was able to continue to be paid through the ERC.
- An ERC offset the payroll costs of a retail shop that saw a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- ERC was used by a manufacturer that could not operate at full capacity due to disruptions in the supply chain to keep employees employed and continue production of essential goods.
- The ERC allowed a nonprofit organization to continue providing essential services despite a decline in donations due to COVID-19.
Contact a tax expert if you’re a business owner who is unsure if you qualify for the ERC.They can help you to determine your eligibility and to claim the credit if you are eligible.
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.
- They use high-pressure sales tactics. Claiming Employee Retention Credit Retroactively
- They are not members of a reputable professional tax organization.
- The first thing they ask you for is your personal and financial information.
Reporting Suspicious Actors and Protecting Your Personal Information
If you’re contacted by an ERC con artist, then you should report their activity to IRS.This can be done by calling 1-800-829-1040, or visiting the IRS’s website.
Also, you should be cautious about protecting your financial and personal data.Don’t give out your personal details to anyone who contacts without asking.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.
We have covered the Employees Retention (ERC) Credit in this article. This is a tax credit program that helps employers who qualify to retain their staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.We have outlined the ERC’s eligibility requirements, its claim process, as well as the possible scams.
We also have some tips and materials for documenting your records.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.
Employee Retention Credit Frequently Asked Questions:
Claiming Employee Retention Credit Retroactively
What is ERC?
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses. A refundable tax credit is available.
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 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 are qualified wages?
Wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses are all included in the definition of a qualified wage.
All wages that are qualified include health insurance premiums paid to the employer.
How do I claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC by submitting an amended Form 941 to the IRS.The amended form 941-X is required to be filed within 3 years from the date that the original Form 941 has been filed.
Do I have to pay back the ERC?
The ERC is not a tax credit that needs to be repaid.
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 the ERC for wages that were also used to claim the PPP loan.
Can self-employed people claim the ERC?
Yes, self-employed individuals are eligible for the ERC.
Schedule C is the form that self-employed people can use to claim their ERC.
Can nonprofit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, organizations that are not for profit can qualify for the ERC.
Nonprofit organizations are eligible to claim the ERC when filing their Forms 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.
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?
The following are some common mistakes to avoid by businesses when claiming the ERC:
- Incorrect credit calculation
- Include all wages that qualify
- The failure to amend Form 941-X in time.