The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses of all sizes, forcing many to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.But there is a lifeline available to help businesses stay afloat: the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).
It is a refundable credit that can be claimed by employers on certain wages paid to employees in the event of a pandemic.The ERC was created to ensure that businesses can continue to pay employees during a pandemic, even if their normal business operations are disrupted.
The ERC may be able to help keep your employees and business afloat if your company has been impacted.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 CreditEconomic Security Act Employee Retention Credit
Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit for businesses that can be claimed if they pay employees wages 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.
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 is able to provide significant financial support for businesses affected by the pandemic.It can help businesses retain their employees, cover payroll costs, and invest in their future.
Why was ERC created
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a severe economic downturn, forcing many businesses to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.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.The ERC can help businesses retain employees, which is crucial for a rapid 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 ERC for qualified wages paid to employees not working as a result of COVID-19. For example, employees are furloughed from work or quarantined. Economic Security Act 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.The ERC has helped many businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ERC saved 10 million jobs. Thousands of businesses were prevented from closing.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, the business must have seen a decline of gross receipts by at least 50% in comparison to the same quarter the year before.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:
- ERC eligibility is based on whether the business has been suspended completely or in part 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: A business that has experienced a significant decline in gross receipts due to COVID-19 is also eligible for the 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
Below are examples and scenarios that illustrate each of the eligibility criteria:
Full or partial suspension by government order
- ERC will cover a restaurant which is forced to close down by government orders.
- 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:
- A retail store that experiences a 50% decline in sales due to COVID-19 is eligible for the ERC.
- A manufacturer that is unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions is eligible for the ERC.
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 the credit varies depending on the quarter and the number of employees a business has.
The credit for 2020 is equal 50% of the wages qualified to be paid to employees. This maximum can reach $10,000 per employee.This could mean that an employer can get a credit up to $5,000 for 2020.
For the first three quarters of 2021, the credit is equal to 70% of qualified wages paid to employees, up to a maximum of $10,000 per quarter per employee.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.
Claim the Credit
How to Claim the ERC when Filing Federal Employment Tax Returns
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 is applicable to any quarter during which the business qualifies for the credit.
Options for Claiming the ERC in Advance
Businesses can claim the ERC in three ways:
- Claim the credit ahead of time: Businesses may claim the credit by reducing the quarterly employment tax deposit.To do so, businesses need to file IRS Form 7200, Advanced Payment of Employer credits and taxes.
- Reduce employment tax deposits: Businesses can also reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount of the credit they expect to receive.To reduce the deposits, businesses need to file IRS Form 941 and include the amount of credit that they expect to receive.
- Businesses can ask for a refund if they have already paid the employment tax. They should file Form 941-X at the IRS.
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 for 2020 is 50% and for the first quarter of 2021, it’s 70%.
Businesses must be cautious to not double dip with other relief programmes.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 help businesses to accurately calculate the amount of the credit they are eligible for and to support their claim if it is audited by the IRS. Economic Security Act Employee Retention Credit
Here are a couple of tips to help you with your recordkeeping:
- Keep copies of all payroll records, including Forms 941 and W-2s.
- Keep track at all times of employee hours, including vacation, sick and holiday leave.
- Keep track of all wages paid to employees, including base wages, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Keep track of government orders affecting your business.
The IRS offers many resources for businesses to claim the ERC. This includes FAQs and fact sheets.Businesses can contact the IRS 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.Below are some business examples that may be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants forced to close due to government orders
- Retail stores who experienced a significant drop in sales
- Disruptions in the supply chains prevent manufacturers from working at full capacity
- Donations for nonprofit organizations are down
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and Tourism Businesses
- Entertainment and Event Businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Stores that sell non-essential merchandise
- Businesses that were required to operate at a reduced capacity
- Businesses who are required to implement new safety standards and protocols
- Costs incurred by businesses as a result of COVID-19
In addition to these examples, any business that was fully or partially suspended by a government order or that experienced a significant decline in gross receipts due to COVID-19 may be eligible for the ERC. Economic Security Act Employee Retention Credit
Here are some examples that show how businesses have used ERCs:
- The ERC allowed a restaurant to retain its staff after it was forced to shut down for several months by government order.
- A retail outlet that suffered a 50% sales decline due to COVID-19, was able to use ERC to offset their payroll costs.
- 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.
If you are an owner of a business and are unsure as to whether you are eligible for ERC, then I would encourage you contact a tax specialist.They can assist you in determining your eligibility, and claiming the credit, if you qualify.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, there are scammers that try to take advantage business owners who are eligible for Employee Retention Credits (ERC).Scammers will use aggressive marketing techniques to get businesses to sign up, even if they are not eligible for ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
There are warning signs that could indicate an ERC scammer.
- They will refund you without looking at your records.
- They charge you high upfront fees or a certain percentage of your refund.
- Sales tactics are high-pressure. Economic Security Act Employee Retention Credit
- They aren’t affiliated with an established tax professional association.
- Your personal or financial data is requested upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
If you are contacted by an ERC scammer, you should report the activity to the 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.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 discussed eligibility requirements, claiming processes, and possible scams related the ERC.
We have also provided some tips and resources for recordkeeping and documentation.The ERC provides a valuable incentive that helps employers to reduce their payroll tax liability, improve the cash flow of their business, and provide support for their employees.If you’re an eligible employer, you should claim the credit. You can also seek professional advice if you need it.
Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Retention Credits
Economic Security Act 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% of qualified wages paid to employees in 2020 and 70% of qualified wages paid to employees in the first three quarters of 2021.
Who is eligible for ERC funding?
Eligible businesses include those who have seen a significant decrease in gross revenues or have been suspended fully or partly due to government orders resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
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 you claim your ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC by submitting an amended Form 941 to the IRS.The amended Form 941X must be filed no later than three years after the original Form 941.
Do I have to repay my ERC?
The ERC is not a tax credit that needs to be repaid.
Can I claim ERC even if I have 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?
Self-employed individuals can apply for the ERC.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can non profit 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?
Businesses can claim ERC for the wages they pay to foreign-based employees.
There are a few additional requirements to meet before you can claim the benefit.
Are there common mistakes that businesses make when claiming ERC to watch out for?
When claiming your ERC; businesses must be aware of the following mistakes:
- Incorrect credit calculation
- Failure to include all qualified wages
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.