The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses of all sizes, forcing many to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.There is one lifeline that can help businesses remain afloat – the Employee Retention credit (ERC).
The ERC can be claimed by businesses on the wages they paid employees who qualified during pandemic.It’s designed to help employers keep their employees, even if the business is unable to function normally.
The ERC is a great way to keep your employees engaged and your business running smoothly if you’re a business owner impacted by the pandemic.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 CreditCovid Employee Retention Tax 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 by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in March 2020 to help businesses keep their employees on the payroll, even if they were unable to operate normally.
Businesses of all sizes can apply for the ERC, even those that are tax-exempt.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.
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 outbreak caused an economic slump that led many businesses, including small and large ones, to either lay off staff or shut down.The ERC was established to assist businesses in keeping their employees employed so they can quickly reopen, resume normal operations and regain control of the situation once the pandemic has subsided.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.It can assist in keeping employees on board, which will help the business recover quickly.
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 ERC for wages paid by employers to employees who do not work due to COVID-19. Examples include employees who were furloughed and quarantined. Covid Employee Retention Tax Credit
Impact of ERC on Business and the Economy
The ERC helped keep millions of Americans in employment during the COVID-19 Pandemic.It has also helped businesses to stay afloat and weather the economic storm.
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) 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 test for a decline in gross receipts is the main difference between 2020 and 2021 ERC.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, a business must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts of at least 20% compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
Businesses can qualify for the ERC in two ways:
- ERC eligibility for businesses suspended or suspended partially by a government.This includes businesses who have been ordered closed, to operate at a lower capacity, or to follow certain restrictions.
- Significant decline in gross receipts: A business that has experienced a significant decline in gross receipts due to COVID-19 is also eligible for the ERC.Significant declines in gross receipts are defined as a drop of at least 50% or 20% from the same quarter last year.
Examples and Scenarios
These examples and scenarios illustrate the criteria for each:
Fully or partially suspended by a 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:
- 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 (ERC) Credit is an income tax credit which businesses can claim in relation to wages that were paid during the COVID-19 Pandemic.The amount of the credit varies depending on the quarter and the number of employees a business has.
Credits for 2020 are equal to 50% the qualified wages paid by employees, up to a maximum amount of $10,000 per employee.A business can receive up to $5,000 in credit per employee for the year 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.This means a company could receive a credit for up to $7,000 for each employee per quarter in the first three months of 2021. The total for the entire year is up to $21,000.
Claiming the Credit
How to Claim ERC in Federal Employment Taxreturn
To claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) on federal employment tax returns, businesses must file an amended Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund.This form can be filed for any quarter in which the business was eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC 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, business must file IRS Form 7220, Advance Payment for Employer Credits & Taxes.
- Reduce employment tax deposits: Businesses can also reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount of the credit they expect to receive.Businesses must submit Form 941 to the IRS, indicating the amount they want to reduce their deposit by.
- 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 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%.
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 Documentation
Businesses should maintain detailed records of the wages they paid to their employees during the ERC.This will enable the business to calculate the credit amount accurately and provide evidence to support the claim, if audited. Covid Employee Retention Tax 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 of all hours worked by employees, including vacation, sick, and holiday time.
- Keep track of all wages paid to employees, including base wages, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Keep track of all government orders that affect your business.
IRS provides various resources, such as fact sheets and videos, to help businesses claim the ERC.Businesses can contact the IRS by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for the Employee retention credit (ERC).These are some examples of businesses who may qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants are forced to close by government order
- Retail stores that experienced a significant decline in sales
- Supply chain disruptions prevent manufacturers from operating at full capacity
- Donations to nonprofit organizations have declined
- Hotels and other hospitality business
- Travel and tourism businesses
- Entertainment and Event Businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Fitness studios and gyms
- Salons & spas
- Stores that sell non-essential merchandise
- Businesses that had to operate on a lower capacity
- Businesses that were forced to implement new safety measures and protocols
- Businesses that experienced increased 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. Covid Employee Retention Tax Credit
Below are some specific examples on how businesses have utilized the ERC.
- 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 store that experienced a 50% decline in sales due to COVID-19 was able to use the ERC to offset its payroll costs.
- 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.
- An organization that had seen its donations drop due to COVID-19 could use the ERC in order to keep their employees on the payroll and continue to offer essential services.
You should contact a professional tax advisor if, as a small business owner, you have any doubts about your eligibility for the ERC.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
Unfortunately, some scammers take advantage of companies that qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers can use aggressive marketing strategies to convince companies to sign-up for their services even when they are not eligible to receive the ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warning signs and red flags to identify potential ERC scammers:
- They will refund you without looking at your records.
- They charge you high upfront fees or a certain percentage of your refund.
- They use high-pressure sales tactics. Covid Employee Retention Tax Credit
- 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 Activities and Protecting Personal Information
If you have been contacted by an ERC scammer , you should notify the IRS .You can report this activity by calling 1-800-829-1040.
You should also be careful to protect your personal and financial information.Do not share your personal data with anyone who contacts uninvited.You can find reviews of a company online, or you can contact the IRS if you’re unsure.
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.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.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 qualify as an employer, please claim the ERC and get professional assistance if you require it.
Employee Retention Credit: Frequently Asked Questions
Covid Employee Retention Tax Credit
What is ERC?
Businesses affected by COVID-19 can apply for a refundable income tax credit.
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 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 are qualified wages?
Included in qualifying wages are wages, salaries, and tips paid to employees.
Also, health insurance premiums that employers pay are considered wages.
How do I claim the ERC?
The IRS allows businesses to claim ERCs if they file an amended Form 951, or Form 951,-X.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 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 cannot claim ERC for salaries that are also used as collateral to borrow PPP loans.
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, non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for ERC.
Nonprofit organizations can claim the ERC on their Form 990-T form.
Can companies that own a foreign affiliate claim ERCs?
Businesses can claim ERC for the wages they pay to foreign-based employees.
However, they must also meet certain additional requirements before they are eligible to claim the benefits.
Are there common mistakes that businesses make when claiming ERC to watch out for?
There are a few common mistakes that businesses should avoid when claiming an ERC. These include but are not restricted to
- Wrong calculation on credit
- Include all wages that qualify
- Failure to amend Form 941-X on time.