COVID-19, a pandemic that has affected businesses of all types and sizes, has forced many to either lay off staff or close their business.But there is a lifeline available to help businesses stay afloat: the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).
The ERC can be claimed by businesses on the wages they paid employees who qualified during pandemic.It was designed to encourage businesses to continue to pay their employees even if normal operations are not possible.
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.Visit the IRS website to learn more about ERCs and how you can claim them. You can also speak with a tax adviser or read the following.
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 CreditEmployee Retention Credit Backlog
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 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.
The ERC is available to businesses of all sizes, including tax-exempt organizations.A business must be eligible if it has experienced a significant drop in gross receipts, or if they have been suspended or fully suspended because of a COVID-19 related government order.
Businesses that have been affected by this pandemic can receive a substantial financial boost from the ERC.It can be used to help businesses keep their employees, cover their payroll costs and invest for the future.
Why was ERC created
The COVID-19 epidemic caused a severe downturn in the economy, which forced many businesses to close or lay off their employees.The ERC is designed to help keep businesses open and their employees working so that they can resume normal operations as soon as the pandemic subsides.
ERC can offer a significant boost in financial support to businesses impacted negatively by the pandemic.It can also help businesses retain their employees, which is essential for a quick 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 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 Backlog
Impact of ERC on Business and the Economy
The ERC was able to keep millions of Americans working during the COVID-19 pandemic.It also helped businesses weather the storm and stay afloat.
ERC saved 10 million jobs. Thousands of businesses were prevented from closing.It also contributed to the recovery of the economy by increasing consumer spending, and investing.
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 an enterprise must have seen a decline in gross revenue of atleast 20% in comparison to the same period in the previous year.
The ERC is available to businesses in two different ways.
- ERC is available to businesses that have been suspended in whole or part by government orders due to COVID-19.The ERC is available to businesses that have been told to close or operate at reduced capacity.
- Significant decline of gross receipts. A business which has seen a significant fall in its gross receipts because of COVID-19, is also eligible to receive 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:
Orders from the government can be used to suspend or fully suspend your work.
- ERC may be available for a restaurant that has to close because of a government directive.
- ERC can be awarded to a fitness center that has to operate on a reduced basis due to an order from the government based on COVID-19.
Significant decline in gross receipts:
- ERC is available to retail stores that experience a 50% drop in sales as a result 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.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit that businesses can claim for qualified wages paid to employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.The amount of the credit is dependent on the business’s quarter and employees.
For 2020, the credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees up to a maximum of $10,000 per employee.This means a company could receive up to a $5,000 credit per employee in 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.A business could receive credit up to $7000 per employee, per quarter for the three first quarters of the year 2021.
Claim 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 may be used for any quarter that the business is eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses have three options to claim the ERC.
- Claim your credit in Advance: Businesses can take advantage of the credit by reducing deposits made quarterly for employment tax.Businesses must submit Form 7200 to the IRS, Advance Payments of Employer Taxes and Credits.
- Reduce employment taxes deposits. Businesses are also able to reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount expected credit.To reduce the deposits, businesses need to file IRS Form 941 and include the amount of credit that they expect to receive.
- Businesses who have already paid employment taxes may request a credit refund by filing IRS 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.The credit rates for 2020 are 50% and 70% in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
Avoid double-dipping when it comes to other relief programs.For example, businesses can’t claim the ERC if they are also claiming the Paid Family Leave Credit 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 businesses to accurately determine the amount of credit that they are eligible for, and to back up their claim should it be audited. Employee Retention Credit Backlog
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 of the hours that employees work, including sick leave, vacation time, and holidays.
- Keep track of all wages paid to employees, including base wages, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Keep track of any orders from the government that may affect 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
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):
- Restaurants forced to shut down due to government order
- Retail stores that saw a significant fall 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 companies
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons, spas
- Retail stores selling non-essential goods
- Businesses that have been required to operate in a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to adopt new safety protocols and measures
- 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. Employee Retention Credit Backlog
Here are a few examples of specific ways businesses have used their ERC:
- A restaurant, which was forced to close due to an order from the government for a period of several months, was able use the ERC in order to keep their employees on the payroll.
- A retail store which experienced a drop of 50% in sales due COVID-19 could offset its payroll expenses by using the ERC.
- 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.
You should contact a professional tax advisor if, as a small business owner, you have any doubts about your eligibility for the ERC.They can assist you in determining your eligibility, and claiming the credit, if you qualify.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Scammers are targeting businesses eligible for the Employee Retention Credit.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
Here are some warning signs and red flags to identify potential ERC scammers:
- They promise you will get a refund even if they don’t review your records.
- They charge high upfront fees or a percentage of your refund.
- High-pressure sales tactics are used. Employee Retention Credit Backlog
- They are not affiliated to a reputable organization of tax professionals.
- Some companies will ask for personal or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activity and Protecting Personal Data
If you’re contacted by an ERC con artist, then you should report their activity to IRS.You can report this activity by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Also, you should be cautious about protecting your financial and personal data.Never give out personal information to someone who contacts you without your permission.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.We have discussed the ERC eligibility requirements, claim process and potential scams.
We’ve also included some resources and advice on recordkeeping.The ERC offers employers a valuable opportunity to reduce their tax liabilities, improve cash flow and support the workforce.We encourage eligible employers to claim this credit and, if necessary, seek professional help.
Employee Retention Bonus Frequently Answered Questions
Employee Retention Credit Backlog
What is the ERC?
It is a refundable tax credit available to businesses that were impacted 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 can apply for the ERC program?
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.
Also, health insurance premiums that employers pay are considered wages.
How do I claim 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 need to repay the ERC?
No, the ERC is a refundable tax credit, which means that businesses do not need to repay it.
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 people claim the ERC?
Self-employed individuals can apply for the ERC.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can non-profit organisations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofit organizations are eligible for the ERC.
Nonprofit organizations may claim the ERC by submitting Form 990-T.
Can companies that have a foreign subsidiary claim ERC benefits?Can companies who have a foreign branch claim ERC?
Yes, businesses can claim the ERC for wages paid to employees of foreign subsidiaries.
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?
When claiming your ERC; businesses must be aware of the following mistakes:
- Wrong calculation on credit
- The failure to include all qualifying wages
- Failure to amend Forms 901-X by deadline