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.The Employee Retention Credit can be a lifeline for businesses struggling to stay afloat.
The ERC is an refundable tax credit which businesses can claim for wages that were paid to their employees during the pandemic.The ERC is intended to keep employees employed, even when businesses are unable operate 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.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 CreditEmployee Retention Credit Center
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 in March of 2020 by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to help employers keep their workers on the payroll, despite the fact that they may not have been able to operate normally.
ERCs can be obtained by businesses of any size, including those exempt from tax.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 help businesses retain their employees, cover payroll costs, and invest in their future.
Why was the ERC created?
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a severe economic recession, forcing many companies to layoff their employees or close 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.
ERC can be a major financial boost for businesses who have been affected by the pandemic.It can also assist businesses in retaining their employees. This is vital for a fast recovery.
The ERC can be claimed by businesses even if no taxes are 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 Center
Impact of ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC helped keep millions of Americans in employment during the COVID-19 Pandemic.It also helped companies to weather the economic storm and remain afloat.
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 to the economic recovery by boosting consumer spending and investment.
The main difference between the 2020 and 2021 ERC requirements is the gross receipts decline test.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, an organization must have suffered a significant drop in gross receipts by at least 20% from the same quarter the year before.
There are two ways that businesses can qualify for ERC:
- ERC for a business suspended fully or partly by a Government Order: An ERC can be awarded to a business that is suspended either completely or partially by an order of the government due COVID-19.Businesses ordered to close, reduce capacity or comply with certain restrictions are eligible for ERC.
- Significant drop in gross sales: A business experiencing a significant loss in gross sales due to COVID-19 can also apply 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
You can use the following examples to demonstrate each eligibility criterion.
A government order can suspend a person’s rights in full or part
- A restaurant that is forced to close due to a government order is eligible for the ERC.
- 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 can be awarded to a retail store that has experienced a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- ERC can be awarded to a manufacturer who cannot operate at full capability due to disruptions to the supply chain.
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 credit depends on the number of employees and the quarter.
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 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 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 can be filed for any quarter in which the business was eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses have three options for claiming the ERC:
- Claim the credit in advance: Businesses can claim the credit in advance by reducing their quarterly employment tax deposits.To do this, businesses must file Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits and Taxes, with the IRS.
- Reduce employment taxes deposits. Businesses are also able to reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount expected credit.To do this, businesses must file Form 941 with the IRS and indicate the amount of the credit they are reducing their deposits 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
Multiplying the amount of ERC by the credit rate is how the ERC amount is calculated.Credit rates are 50% in 2020 and 70% during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Avoid double-dipping when it comes to 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. Employee Retention Credit Center
Here are a couple of tips to help you with your recordkeeping:
- Keep a record of all your payroll documents, such as W-2 forms and 941s.
- Keep track of all hours worked by employees, including vacation, sick, and holiday time.
- Keep track of the wages you pay to your employees. This includes base wage, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Keep track of any government orders that affected the business’s operations.
The IRS provides a variety of resources to help businesses claim the ERC, including FAQs, fact sheets, and videos.Businesses can also contact the IRS for assistance 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 are forced to close by government order
- Retail stores that experienced a significant decline in sales
- Manufacturing companies are unable to reach full capacity because of supply chain disruptions
- Donations to nonprofit organizations have declined
- 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 who were forced to operate with a reduced capacity
- Businesses that were forced to implement new safety measures and protocols
- Businesses that have experienced an increase in costs as a result 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 Center
Here are some examples that show how businesses have used ERCs:
- 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.
- A retail outlet that suffered a 50% sales decline due to COVID-19, was able to use ERC to offset their payroll costs.
- ERC allows a company to maintain its workforce and produce essential products despite being unable to run at full capacity.
- 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 help determine your eligibility as well as claim the credit for you if you’re eligible.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage businesses who qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers use aggressive marketing to convince businesses to subscribe to their services even if that business isn’t eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (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.
- The fees are high, or they take a large percentage of the refund.
- These salespeople use high-pressure tactics. Employee Retention Credit Center
- 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’re contacted by an ERC con artist, then you should report their activity to IRS.You can do this by calling 1-800-829-1040 or by visiting the IRS website.
Protecting personal information and financial data is equally important.Never give out personal information to someone who contacts you without your permission.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.
In this article we discussed the Employees Retention Credit, tax-relief program that assists eligible employers in keeping their employees on the payroll during the COVID-19 epidemic.We have explained the eligibility requirements, the claiming process, and the potential scams related to the ERC.
We have also provided some tips and resources for recordkeeping and documentation.The ERC offers employers a valuable opportunity to reduce their tax liabilities, improve cash flow and support the workforce.If you are an eligible employer, we encourage you to claim the credit and seek professional assistance if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Retention Credits
Employee Retention Credit Center
What is the ERC?
This is a tax credit that can be refunded to businesses who were affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
This credit is equal 50% of qualified wage paid to employees for 2020 and 70% qualified wage paid to employees during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Who is eligible to apply for ERC?
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 can I claim my ERC?
The IRS allows businesses to claim ERCs if they file an amended Form 951, or Form 951,-X.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, however, is a non-refundable tax credit.
Can I claim the ERC if I received a PPP loan?
Businesses can still claim the ERC if they have received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
The ERC cannot be claimed for wages used to obtain a PPP loan.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, the ERC is available to self-employed people.
Self-employed individuals can claim the ERC on their Schedule C form.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, organizations that are not for profit can qualify for the ERC.
Nonprofit organizations may claim the ERC by submitting Form 990-T.
Can companies with a foreign subsidiary claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC for the wages they pay to foreign-based 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?
There are a few common mistakes that businesses should avoid when claiming an ERC. These include but are not restricted to
- Credit calculation error
- Include all wages that qualify
- Failure to amend Forms 901-X by deadline