The COVID-19 epidemic has caused havoc in businesses of all sizes. Many have been forced to close or lay off their employees.But there is a lifeline available to help businesses stay afloat: the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).
The ERC is an refundable tax credit which businesses can claim for wages that were paid to their employees during the pandemic.It was designed to encourage businesses to continue to pay their employees even if normal operations are not possible.
The ERC may be able to help keep your employees and business afloat if your company has been impacted.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 Deadlines
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a refundable tax credit that businesses can claim for qualified wages paid to employees 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 be eligible, a business must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts or have been fully or partially suspended due to a COVID-19-related 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 the 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 is designed to help keep businesses open and their employees working so that they can resume normal operations as soon as the pandemic subsides.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.It can also help businesses retain their employees, which is essential for a quick 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 the ERC on wages paid to employees that are not working because of COVID-19. This includes employees who have been furloughed, quarantined, or are otherwise not allowed to work. Employee Retention Credit Deadlines
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 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 must have experienced a significant decline in gross receipts of at least 20% compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
Businesses can qualify for the ERC in two ways:
- ERC eligibility is based on whether the business has been suspended completely or in part due to COVID-19.This includes businesses who have been ordered closed, to operate at a lower capacity, or to follow certain restrictions.
- 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 decline in Gross Receipts: A business that has experienced a significant decline in its gross receipts due to COVID-19 is also eligible for the ERC.
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 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:
- A retail store that experiences a 50% decline in sales due to COVID-19 is eligible for the ERC.
- 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 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.A business can receive up to $5,000 in credit per employee for the year 2020.
The credit for the first three quarters of 2021 is 70% of the qualified wages paid by employees. This maximum amount per employee per quarter is $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.
How to Claim ERC on Federal Employment Tax Returns
To claim the Employee-Retention Credit (ERC), businesses must file a Form 941-941-X, Adjusted Employer Quarterly Federal Tax return or Claim of Refund.This form can also be filed for any other quarters in which a business may have been eligible for credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it 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 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
The ERC is calculated as the product of the employee’s qualified wage multiplied by the applicable credit rates.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 cannot claim ERC for wages used to claim Paid Family and medical leave credit or the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
Tips and Resources for Recordkeeping and Documentation
Businesses must keep detailed records on all wages paid during the ERC.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 Deadlines
Here are a couple of tips to help you with your recordkeeping:
- All payroll records should be kept, including W-2s and Forms 941s.
- Keep track of the hours that employees work, including sick leave, vacation time, and holidays.
- Track all employee wages, including bonuses, overtime, and base pay.
- Track any government orders which may have an impact on the business.
IRS provides various resources, such as fact sheets and videos, to help businesses claim the ERC.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.Here are some businesses that could be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- 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
- 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 & spas
- Retail stores selling non essential goods
- Businesses that have been required to operate in a reduced capacity
- Businesses that were forced to implement new safety measures and protocols
- Businesses who experienced higher costs due to 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 Deadlines
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.
- An ERC offset the payroll costs of a retail shop that saw a 50% decrease in sales because of COVID-19.
- ERC allows a company to maintain its workforce and produce essential products despite being unable to run at full capacity.
- A nonprofit organization that saw its donations decline due to COVID-19 was able to use the ERC to keep its employees on payroll and continue to provide essential services.
Contact a tax expert if you’re a business owner who is unsure if you qualify for the ERC.You can get help from a tax professional to determine your eligibility for the ERC and claim it if eligible.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage businesses who qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers might use aggressive advertising tactics to convince businesses that they should sign up for their service, even though the business may not be eligible for ERC.
Warning Signs and Red Flags
Here are some warning signals and red flags that can help you to identify ERC scammers.
- The company promises to give you a full refund without reviewing any of your records.
- They charge high fees upfront or take a portion of your refund.
- The salespeople are aggressive and use high-pressure tactics. Employee Retention Credit Deadlines
- 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 Activity and Protecting Personal Data
You should contact the IRS if you receive a call from an ERC scammer.Call 1-800-829-1040 to report the scam or visit the IRS website.
Protecting personal information and financial data is equally important.Do not give your personal information to anyone who contacts you unsolicited.If you want to know if a particular business is legit, check online reviews. Or contact 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 is a valuable benefit that can help employers reduce their employment tax liability, improve their cash flow, and support their workforce.If you are an eligible employer, we encourage you to claim the credit and seek professional assistance if needed.
Employee Retention Credit: Frequently Asked Questions
Employee Retention Credit Deadlines
What is ERC?
It is a refundable tax credit available to businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This credit is equal to 50% the wages paid by employees to qualified employees in 2020. And 70% of the wages paid by employees to qualified employees in their first three quarters in 2021.
Who is eligible for the ERC?
Eligible companies for the ERC are those businesses that experienced a significant fall in gross sales or were partially or completely suspended because of government orders triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak.
What is qualified wage?
Salary, wages, bonuses, and tips are all considered to be wages.
Also, health insurance premiums that employers pay are considered wages.
How do I claim the ERC?
Businesses can claim ERCs by filing amended Forms 941 or 941-X at the IRS.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, it is a refundable credit.
Can I claim ERC even if I have received a PPP Loan?
Yes, businesses can claim the ERC even if they received a PPP loan (Paycheck Protection Program).
Businesses cannot claim ERCs for wages they also claimed as PPPs.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, individuals who are self-employed can qualify for the ERC.
Self-employed individuals can claim the ERC on their Schedule C form.
Can nonprofit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofits are eligible for ERC.
Nonprofits may claim ERCs on their Form 990T.
Can companies that own a foreign affiliate claim ERCs?
You can claim ERC on wages paid to foreign subsidiaries.
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?
When claiming your ERC; businesses must be aware of the following mistakes:
- The credit calculation is incorrect
- The failure to include all qualifying wages
- Failure to amend Form 941-X on time.