COVID-19 has caused massive damage to businesses of every size, with many being forced to cut staff or shut down their doors.There is one lifeline that can help businesses remain afloat – the Employee Retention credit (ERC).
The ERC allows businesses to claim a tax credit on wages paid during a pandemic.It is designed to help businesses keep their employees on payroll, even if they are unable to operate normally.
If you are a business owner who has been impacted by the pandemic, the ERC can help you keep your employees on board and your business afloat.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.
Employee Retention CreditEmployee Retention Credit Assistance
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 established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act in March 2020 in order to help businesses retain their employees, even if it meant they could not operate normally.
The ERC is available to businesses of all sizes, including tax-exempt organizations.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 provides a financial boost for businesses that are affected by pandemic.The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Why was ERC formed?
The COVID-19 Pandemic caused an economic downturn that forced many businesses either to layoff employees or shut their doors.The ERC was created to help businesses keep their employees on payroll so that they could quickly reopen and resume normal operations once the pandemic subsided.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.The ERC can help businesses retain employees, which is crucial for a rapid recovery.
The ERC, which is a tax credit that is claimed even by businesses who do not owe a dime in taxes, is refundable.Businesses can also claim the ERC for qualified wages paid to employees who are not working due to COVID-19, such as employees who are furloughed or quarantined. Employee Retention Credit Assistance
Impact of the ERC on Businesses and the Economy
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.
ERC saved 10 million jobs. Thousands of businesses were prevented from closing.The ERC has also helped to boost consumer spending and investments, which have contributed to economic recovery.
The main difference between the 2020 and 2021 ERC requirements is the gross receipts decline test.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.
Business can qualify in two ways for the ERC
- ERC is available to businesses that have been suspended in whole or part by government orders due to COVID-19.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 gross receipts are defined as a drop of at least 50% or 20% from the same quarter last year.
Examples and Scenarios
Below are examples and scenarios that illustrate each of the 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.
- 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:
- ERC is available to retail stores that experience a 50% drop in sales as a result of COVID-19.
- ERCs are available for manufacturers that cannot operate at their full capacity as a result of disruptions in supply chains.
Employee Retention Credit is a tax deduction that businesses may claim on wages they paid employees in 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.For 2020, a business may receive a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee.
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.A business could receive credit up to $7000 per employee, per quarter for the three first quarters of the year 2021.
Claiming 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.
Claim the ERC in Advance
Businesses can claim the ERC in three ways:
- 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 can also reduce the quarterly employment tax deposit by the amount that they expect to get.Businesses must submit Form 941 to the IRS, indicating the amount they want to reduce their deposit by.
- 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 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.Credit rates are 50% in 2020 and 70% during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Businesses should avoid double-dipping on 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
Keep detailed records for all wages that were paid to employees in the ERC period.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. Employee Retention Credit Assistance
Here are some tips for recordkeeping and documentation:
- Keep a copy of all payroll records, including W-2 forms and Form 941s.
- Keep track at all times of employee hours, including vacation, sick and holiday leave.
- Track all employee wages, including bonuses, overtime, and base pay.
- Keep track of all government orders that affect your business.
The IRS provides many resources to assist businesses in claiming the ERC. They include fact sheets, videos, and FAQs.Businesses can contact IRS for help by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for the Employee retention credit (ERC).Following are some of the businesses that might be eligible to receive the Employee Retention Credit.
- Government orders force restaurants to close
- 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 of nonprofit organizations declined
- Hotels and other hospitality business
- Travel and Tourism Businesses
- Entertainment and event business
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores selling non essential goods
- Businesses required to operate under reduced capacity
- Businesses who are required to implement new safety standards and protocols
- Businesses that experienced increased costs due to 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. Employee Retention Credit Assistance
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.
- An ERC offset the payroll costs of a retail shop that saw a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- 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.
- The ERC allowed a nonprofit organization to continue providing essential services despite a decline in donations due to COVID-19.
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, 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
These warning signs will help you identify possible ERC scammers.
- They will refund you without looking at your records.
- You will be charged high fees upfront, or a percentage of your refund.
- High-pressure sales tactics are used. Employee Retention Credit Assistance
- They do not belong to an organization that is reputable.
- 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.
Protecting your financial and personal information is also important.Do not share your personal data with anyone who contacts uninvited.If you want to know if a particular business is legit, check online reviews. Or contact the IRS.
This article has discussed the Employee retention credit (ERC), which is a tax relief that allows eligible employers to keep their employees employed during the COVID-19 Pandemic.The ERC has been explained in detail, including the eligibility requirements and the claim process.
We have also provided some tips and resources for recordkeeping and documentation.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.We encourage eligible employers to claim this credit and, if necessary, seek professional help.
Employee Retention Credit: Frequently Asked Questions
Employee Retention Credit Assistance
What is ERC?
Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic can claim a refundable credit.
This credit equals 50% of the qualified wages that employees received in 2020, and 70% of the qualified wages they receive in the first quarter of 2021.
Who can apply for the ERC program?
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.
Employer-paid health insurance premiums also qualify as wages.
How can I claim my ERC?
Businesses can claim the ERC by filing an amended Form 941 or Form 941-X with 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, however, is a non-refundable tax credit.
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 the ERC for wages that were also used to claim the PPP loan.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, you can get the ERC if you are a self-employed individual.
Schedule C is the form that self-employed people can use to claim their ERC.
Can non-profit organisations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofit organizations are eligible for the ERC.
Nonprofits may claim ERCs on their Form 990T.
Can companies with a foreign subsidiary claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC for the wages they pay to foreign-based employees.
That said, there are some additional requirements that must be met before they can claim it.
Are there common mistakes that businesses make when claiming ERC to watch out for?
Some common mistakes businesses need to watch out for when claiming their ERC include but are not limited to
- Calculation error on credit
- The failure to include all qualifying wages
- Failure to amend Forms 901-X by deadline