The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses of all sizes, forcing many to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.Employee Retention (ERC) Credit is available to businesses that need it.
The ERC is an refundable tax credit which businesses can claim for wages that were paid to their employees during the pandemic.It is designed to help businesses keep their employees on payroll, even if they are unable to operate normally.
If you are a business owner who has been impacted by the pandemic, the ERC can help you keep your employees on board and your business afloat.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 Eligibility Tool
Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC), also known as the Employee Retention Tax Credit, is a refundable tax credit that employers can claim for qualifying wages paid to their employees during COVID-19.The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act created the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) in March 2020. Its purpose is to assist businesses to keep their employees, even if the business is unable to function 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.
Businesses that have been affected by this pandemic can receive a substantial financial boost from the ERC.It can assist businesses in retaining their employees, covering payroll costs, as well as investing in their future.
Why was the 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 was created to help businesses keep their employees on payroll so that they could quickly reopen and resume normal operations once the pandemic subsided.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.It can assist in keeping employees on board, which will help the business recover quickly.
The ERC can be claimed by businesses even if no taxes are due.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 Eligibility Tool
Impact of ERC on Business and the Economy
The ERC was able to keep millions of Americans working during the COVID-19 pandemic.The ERC also helped to keep businesses afloat through the economic storm.
ERC saved 10 million jobs. Thousands of businesses were prevented from closing.The ERC also contributed positively to the recovery in terms of consumer spending as well as investment.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a tax credit available to businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 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.
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.This includes businesses that have been ordered to close, operate at a reduced capacity, or follow certain restrictions.
- 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 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.
Examples and Scenarios
You can use the following examples to demonstrate each eligibility criterion.
Fully or partially suspended by a government order:
- ERC may be available for a restaurant that has to close because of a government directive.
- 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 is available to retail stores that experience a 50% drop in sales as a result of 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 the credit varies depending on the quarter and the number of employees a business has.
For 2020, the credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees up to a maximum of $10,000 per employee.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.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 the ERC when Filing 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 is applicable to any quarter during which the business qualifies for the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses can claim the ERC in three ways:
- 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 tax deposits: Businesses can also reduce their quarterly employment tax deposits by the amount of the credit they expect to receive.To do this, businesses must file Form 941 with the IRS and indicate the amount of the credit they are reducing their deposits by.
- Request a Refund: Businesses who have already paid their Employment Taxes can request to receive a refund for the credit by submitting Form 941X to the IRS.
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.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.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 Documentation
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 Eligibility Tool
Here are some tips on recordkeeping and documentation.
- Keep a copy of all payroll records, including W-2 forms and Form 941s.
- Keep track of every employee’s hours, including sick time, holiday, and vacation.
- Keep track of every wage paid to an employee, including the base salary, bonuses, and overtime.
- Keep track of any government orders that affected the business’s operations.
The IRS provides many resources to assist businesses in claiming the ERC. They include fact sheets, videos, and FAQs.Businesses can contact the IRS by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for the Employee retention credit (ERC).These are some examples of businesses who may qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants forced to close due to government orders
- 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 businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores that sell non-essential products
- Businesses required to operate under reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety protocols
- Businesses who experienced higher costs due to COVID-19
These examples are not the only ones that qualify. Any business that has been suspended in whole or part by an order of government or that has seen a decline in gross sales due to COVID-19 could also be eligible. Employee Retention Credit Eligibility Tool
Here are some examples that show how businesses have used ERCs:
- A restaurant that was forced to close for several months due to a government order was able to use the ERC to keep its employees on the payroll.
- The ERC was used by a retail store to offset payroll costs after it experienced a 50% drop in sales as a result of COVID-19.
- ERC was used by a manufacturer that could not operate at full capacity due to disruptions in the supply chain to keep employees employed and continue production of essential goods.
- 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 assist you in determining your eligibility, and claiming the credit, if you qualify.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, some scammers take advantage of companies that qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.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
There are warning signs that could indicate an ERC scammer.
- They promise you will get a refund even if they don’t review your records.
- They charge high fees upfront or take a portion of your refund.
- High-pressure sales tactics are used. Employee Retention Credit Eligibility Tool
- 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 report this activity by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Also, you should be cautious about protecting your financial and personal data.Do not share your personal data with anyone who contacts uninvited.If you want to know if a particular business is legit, check online reviews. Or 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 discussed the ERC eligibility requirements, claim process and potential scams.
We also have some tips and materials for documenting your records.ERCs are a valuable tool that employers can use to lower their employment tax liability and improve their cash flow. They also help support their workforce.If you’re an eligible employer, you should claim the credit. You can also seek professional advice if you need it.
Employee Retention Credit: Frequently Asked Questions
Employee Retention Credit Eligibility Tool
What is ERC?
Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic can claim a refundable credit.
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 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 is a qualified wage?
Qualified wages include wages, salaries, tips, and bonuses paid to employees.
The employer’s health insurance premiums are also included in the calculation of 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 is required to be filed within 3 years from the date that the original Form 941 has been filed.
Do I have to pay back the ERC?
No, it is a refundable credit.
Can I claim the ERC if I received a PPP loan?
Yes, businesses can claim the ERC even if they received a PPP loan (Paycheck Protection Program).
The ERC cannot be claimed for wages used to obtain a PPP loan.
Can self-employed individuals claim ERC?
Yes, individuals who are self-employed can qualify for the ERC.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can non-profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, organizations that are not for profit can qualify for the ERC.
Nonprofits can claim ERC on Form 990 T.
Can companies that own a foreign affiliate claim ERCs?
You can claim ERC on wages paid to foreign subsidiaries.
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?
You should be on the lookout for these common mistakes when businesses claim their ERC.
- Calculation error on credit
- Inclusion of all eligible wages
- Failure to amend Forms 901-X by deadline