The COVID-19 virus has wreaked havoc across all businesses, forcing some to shut their doors or layoff employees.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.The ERC is intended to keep employees employed, even when businesses are unable operate normally.
The ERC may be able to help keep your employees and business afloat if your company has been impacted.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 Delay
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 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 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.It can help businesses to retain employees, pay for payroll, and invest in the 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 was created to help businesses keep their employees on payroll so that they could quickly reopen and resume normal operations once the pandemic subsided.
ERCs can give businesses impacted by pandemics a financial boost.It can assist in keeping employees on board, which will help the business recover quickly.
The ERC is a refundable tax credit, meaning that businesses can claim it even if they do not owe any taxes.Businesses can also claim ERC for wages paid by employers to employees who do not work due to COVID-19. Examples include employees who were furloughed and quarantined. Employee Retention Credit Delay
The Impact of the ERC in the Business and Economy
The ERC kept millions of Americans employed throughout the COVID-19 epidemic.It also helped companies to weather the economic storm and remain afloat.
ERC may have prevented the closure of hundreds of thousands of businesses and saved over 10,000,000 jobs.The ERC has also helped to boost consumer spending and investments, which have contributed to economic recovery.
For businesses affected by COVID-19, the Employee Retention Credit can help them retain their employees.
The primary difference between ERC requirements for 2020 and 2021 is a test of gross receipts decline.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 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.Businesses that are required to close down, operate with a reduced capacity or adhere to certain restrictions can be eligible for the 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 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
These examples and scenarios illustrate the criteria for each:
Fully or partially suspended by a government order:
- A restaurant that is forced to close due to a government order is eligible for the ERC.
- The ERC is available to gyms that are required to operate with a reduced capacity because of a COVID-19-related government order.
Significant decline in gross receipts:
- A retail store that experiences a 50% decline in sales due to COVID-19 is eligible for the ERC.
- ERC is available to manufacturers who are unable to run at full capacity because of supply chain disruptions.
Employee Retention (ERC) Credit is an income tax credit which businesses can claim in relation to wages that were paid during the COVID-19 Pandemic.The amount of credit depends on the number of employees and the quarter.
The credit for 2020 is equal 50% of the wages qualified to be paid to employees. This maximum can reach $10,000 per employee.For 2020, a business may receive a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee.
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.
Claim your 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 is applicable to any quarter during which the business qualifies for the credit.
Claim the ERC in Advance
There are three options available to businesses for claiming ERC:
- Claim credit in advance. Businesses can claim credit in advance by reducing their quarterly deposits for employment tax.To do so, businesses need to file IRS Form 7200, Advanced Payment of Employer credits and taxes.
- Businesses may also reduce their quarterly tax deposits on employment by the credit amount they expect.To reduce the deposits, businesses need to file IRS Form 941 and include the amount of credit that they expect to receive.
- 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
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.
Businesses must be cautious to not double dip with other relief programmes.Businesses cannot, for example, claim the ERC on wages they also claim as part of the Paid Family Medical Leave Credit and the 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 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 Delay
Here are some tips on recordkeeping and documentation.
- 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.
- Track all employee wages, including bonuses, overtime, and base pay.
- Keep track of government orders affecting your business.
The IRS offers a number of resources that can help businesses claim their ERC. These include FAQs, factsheets, and videos.Businesses can contact the IRS by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses that are affected by COVID-19 can receive the Employee Retention (ERC).The following are examples of businesses that may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC):
- Restaurants forced to close due to government orders
- Retail stores that saw a significant fall in sales
- Supply chain disruptions prevent manufacturers from operating 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 stores selling non-essential goods
- Businesses that have been required to operate in a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety protocols
- Costs incurred by businesses as a result of 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 Delay
Below are some specific examples on how businesses have utilized the ERC.
- 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.
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 determine your qualification and help you claim the credit.
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 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.
- They charge high fees upfront or take a portion of your refund.
- High-pressure sales tactics are used. Employee Retention Credit Delay
- They are not affiliated to a reputable organization of tax professionals.
- Your personal or financial data is requested upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Actors and Protecting Your Personal Information
If you’re contacted by an ERC con artist, then you should report their activity to IRS.This can be done by calling 1-800-829-1040, or visiting the IRS’s website.
You should also be careful to protect your personal and financial information.You should not provide your personal information to anyone contacting you uninvited.You can find reviews of a company online, or you can contact the IRS if you’re unsure.
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 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 Delay
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 can apply for the ERC program?
Businesses that have experienced a significant drop in gross receipts or those that were suspended or fully suspended by government orders due to the COVID-19 epidemic are eligible for the ERC.
What is a 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 do you claim your ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC by submitting an amended Form 941 to the IRS.The amended Form 941X must be filed no later than three years after the original Form 941.
Do I need to repay the 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.
Businesses cannot claim ERCs for wages they also claimed as PPPs.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, the ERC is available to self-employed people.
The Schedule C can be used by self-employed individuals to claim the ERC.
Can non-profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, organizations that are not for profit can qualify for the ERC.
Nonprofits may claim ERCs on their Form 990T.
Can companies that own a foreign affiliate claim ERCs?
Businesses can claim ERC for wages paid by foreign subsidiaries to their employees.
Before you can get it, however, you must meet some additional requirements.
Are there mistakes that companies make in claiming ERCs?
Some common mistakes businesses need to watch out for when claiming their ERC include but are not limited to
- Calculation error on credit
- All wages are not included
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.