The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses of all sizes, forcing many to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.The Employee Retention Credit can be a lifeline for businesses struggling to stay afloat.
The ERC is a refundable tax credit that businesses can claim on qualified wages paid to employees during the pandemic.It was designed to encourage businesses to continue to pay their employees even if normal operations are not possible.
If you own a small business and have been affected by the pandemic then the ERC will help you to keep your staff on board, as well as your business going.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 CreditEmployee Retention Credit Checks
Employee Retention credit (ERC), a refundable income tax credit, is available to businesses for wages paid by them during the COVID-19 epidemic.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.
ERCs are available to all businesses, even tax-exempt ones.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 is able to provide significant financial support for businesses affected by the pandemic.The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Why was ERC created?
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a severe economic recession, forcing many companies to layoff their employees or close down.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.
ERC can be a major financial boost for businesses who have been affected by the pandemic.It can also be used to retain staff, which is important for a swift recovery.
The ERC is a refundable tax credit, meaning that businesses can claim it even if they do not owe any taxes.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. Employee Retention Credit Checks
Impact of the ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC was able to keep millions of Americans working during the COVID-19 pandemic.It has also helped businesses to stay afloat and weather the economic storm.
The ERC is estimated to have saved over 10 million jobs and prevented hundreds of thousands of businesses from closing their doors.The ERC also contributed positively to the recovery in terms of consumer spending as well as investment.
For businesses affected by COVID-19, the Employee Retention Credit can help them retain their employees.
The decline in gross revenues test is the major difference between the ERC 2020 and ERC 2021 requirements.In 2020 a business’s gross receipts must have declined by at least 50% from the same quarterly period of the previous 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.
Two ways exist for businesses to qualify for the 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 decline in gross revenues is defined as at least a 50% decline in a quarterly in 2020, or at least a 20% decline in a quarterly in 2021 when compared with the same quarter the previous year.
These examples and scenarios illustrate the criteria for each:
Fully or partially suspended by a 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:
- ERC may be available for a retailer that suffers a drop of 50% in sales caused by 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 credit depends on the number of employees and the quarter.
For 2020, a credit equal to 50 percent of wages paid to qualified employees is available up to a limit of $10,000.This could mean that an employer can get a credit up to $5,000 for 2020.
Credits are equal to 70% of qualified wages for the first 3 quarters of 2020, with a maximum per employee of $10,000.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.
Claim the Credit
How to Claim the ERC on 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 may be used for any quarter that the business is eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC in Advance
Businesses have three options for claiming the ERC:
- Claim your credit in Advance: Businesses can take advantage of the credit by reducing deposits made quarterly for employment tax.To do this, businesses must file Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits and Taxes, with the IRS.
- Businesses can reduce their quarterly deposits for employment tax by the amount they anticipate receiving.To do so, businesses must fill out Form 941 at the IRS. They will need to indicate how much credit they intend to reduce.
- 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 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 should be aware of the dangers of double-dipping.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 Documenation
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 Checks
Here are some helpful tips on documenting your records and documents:
- 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 all the wages that employees receive, including overtime, bonuses, and base wages.
- 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 call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for assistance.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for the 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 which experienced a significant decrease in sales
- Disruptions in the supply chains prevent manufacturers from working at full capacity
- Non-profit organizations who saw their donations decrease
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and Tourism Businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Fitness studios and gyms
- Salons and spas
- Retail shops selling non-essential items
- Businesses that were required to operate at a reduced capacity
- Businesses that were forced to implement new safety measures and protocols
- Costs incurred by businesses as a result of COVID-19
Aside from these examples, businesses that have been fully or partly suspended by a government directive or who have experienced a significant drop in gross receipts as a result of COVID-19 are also eligible for ERC. Employee Retention Credit Checks
Here are some examples of how companies have used the ERC in specific situations:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.You can get help from a tax professional to determine your eligibility for the ERC and claim it if eligible.
Risks of ERC Scams and Aggressive Marketing
Unfortunately, there are scammers who are trying to take advantage of businesses that are eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).These scammers may use aggressive marketing tactics to try to convince businesses to sign up for their services, even if the business is not eligible for the ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warning signals and red flags that can help you to identify ERC scammers.
- They guarantee to refund your money without looking into your records.
- They charge high upfront fees or a percentage of your refund.
- High-pressure sales tactics are used. Employee Retention Credit Checks
- They are not affiliated to a reputable organization of tax professionals.
- You will be asked to provide your personal information or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
If you are contacted by an ERC fraudster, you must report this activity to the IRS.You can do this by calling 1-800-829-1040 or by visiting the IRS website.
You should also be careful to protect your personal and financial information.Don’t give out your personal details to anyone who contacts without asking.If you’re not sure if a company is legit or not, you should check reviews online. You can also contact the IRS.
In this article, the Employee Retention credit (ERC) is discussed. It’s a tax relief program that helps eligible employers retain their employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.We have outlined the ERC’s eligibility requirements, its claim process, as well as the possible scams.
We have also provided tips and resources on recordkeeping and documentation.The ERC can be a valuable benefit for employers, helping them reduce their employment taxes, improve their cashflow, and support their employees.We encourage eligible employers to claim this credit and, if necessary, seek professional help.
Employee Retention Credit: Frequently Asked Questions
Employee Retention Credit Checks
What is ERC?
This is a tax credit that can be refunded to businesses who were affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
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 qualified wage?
Included in qualifying wages are wages, salaries, and tips paid to employees.
Also, health insurance premiums that employers pay are considered wages.
How can I claim my ERC?
The IRS will accept amended Forms 941 and 941-X from businesses to claim the ERC.The amended Form 941-X must be filed within three years of the date the original Form 941 was filed.
Do I have to pay back the ERC?
No, the ERC is a refundable tax credit, which means that businesses do not need to repay it.
Can I claim ERC if I received a loan from PPP?
Businesses can still claim the ERC if they have received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
Businesses cannot claim ERC for salaries that are also used as collateral to borrow PPP loans.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, the ERC is available to self-employed people.
Schedule C is the form that self-employed people can use to claim their ERC.
Can nonprofit 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 have a foreign subsidiary claim ERC benefits?Can companies who have a foreign branch claim ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC for wages paid by foreign subsidiaries to their employees.
That said, there are some additional requirements that must be met before they can claim it.
Are there mistakes that companies make in claiming ERCs?
There are a few common mistakes that businesses should avoid when claiming an ERC. These include but are not restricted to
- The credit calculation is incorrect
- Failure to include all qualified wages
- Failure to amend Form 941-X on time.