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 a refundable tax credit that businesses can claim on qualified wages paid to 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 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.To learn more about the ERC and how to claim it, visit the IRS website, speak with a 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.
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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 created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in March 2020 to help businesses keep their employees on the payroll, even if they were unable to operate normally.
ERC is open to businesses and organizations of all sizes.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 can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
Why was ERC formed?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a severe economic downturn, forcing many businesses to lay off employees or close their doors altogether.The ERC aims to help companies keep their staff on the payroll in order to quickly reopen after the pandemic is over.
ERC can be a major financial boost for businesses who have been affected by the pandemic.It can also help businesses retain their employees, which is essential for a quick recovery.
The ERC can be claimed by businesses even if no taxes are due.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 Gusto
Impact of ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC is credited with keeping millions of Americans at work during the COVID-19 outbreak.It also helped companies to weather the economic storm and remain afloat.
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 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 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:
- Fully or partially suspended by a government order: A business that has been fully or partially suspended by a government order due to COVID-19 is eligible for the ERC.The ERC is available to businesses that have been told to close or operate at reduced capacity.
- 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.
These examples and scenarios illustrate the criteria for each:
A government order can suspend a person’s rights in full or part
- ERC is available to restaurants that are forced to close by a government order.
- 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:
- ERC is available to retail stores that experience a 50% drop in sales as a result of COVID-19.
- A manufacturer that is unable to operate at full capacity due to supply chain disruptions is eligible for the ERC.
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, a credit equal to 50 percent of wages paid to qualified employees is available up to a limit of $10,000.This means a company could receive up to a $5,000 credit per employee in 2020.
For the three first quarters of the year 2021, the credit is equal to 70% of the wages qualified to be paid. There is a limit of $10,000 per employee per quarter.This means that a business could receive a credit of up to $7,000 per employee per quarter for the first three quarters of 2021, for a total of up to $21,000 per employee for the year.
Claim your Credit
How to Claim the ERC when Filing Federal Employment Tax Returns
Businesses that wish to claim the Employee Retention credit (ERC), on their federal employment tax returns must use Form 941-X, Revised Employer’s Quarterly Tax Return, or Claim for Refund.This form is applicable to any quarter during which the business qualifies for the credit.
Claim the ERC in Advance
Businesses have three options to claim the ERC.
- Claim it in advance. Businesses are able to claim the credit before the quarter’s end by reducing quarterly employment taxes.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.
- Request a refund: Businesses that have already paid their employment taxes can request a refund of the credit by filing Form 941-X with the IRS.
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 rate for 2020 is 50% and for the first quarter of 2021, it’s 70%.
Businesses should be careful to avoid double-dipping with other relief programs.For example, businesses can’t claim the ERC if they are also claiming the Paid Family Leave Credit or 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 enable businesses to accurately determine the amount of credit that they are eligible for, and to back up their claim should it be audited. Employee Retention Credit Gusto
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 the hours that employees work, including sick leave, vacation time, and holidays.
- Track all employee wages, including bonuses, overtime, and base 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 call 1-800-829-1040 to get help from the IRS.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is available to businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.Below are some business examples that may be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants are forced to close by government order
- Retail stores which experienced a significant decrease in sales
- Due to disruptions in the supply chain, manufacturers are not able to operate at their full capacity
- Non-profit organizations who saw their donations decrease
- Hotels and other hospitality business
- Travel and tourism business
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Fitness studios and gyms
- Salons and spas
- Stores that sell non-essential merchandise
- Businesses that had to operate on a lower capacity
- Businesses that are forced to implement new safety protocols
- Businesses that have experienced an increase in costs as a result 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 Gusto
Here are a few examples of specific ways businesses have used their ERC:
- A restaurant that had to close its doors for several weeks due to government orders was able, with the ERC, to keep all of its employees employed.
- A retail store that experienced a 50% decline in sales due to COVID-19 was able to use the ERC to offset its payroll costs.
- The ERC allowed a manufacturer who was not able to operate at its full capacity because of supply chain disruptions to continue producing essential goods and keep their employees on the payroll.
- 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.
If you are a business owner and you are unsure whether or not you are eligible for the ERC, I encourage you to contact a tax professional.They can determine your qualification and help you claim the credit.
Risks of ERC Scams and Aggressive Marketing
Unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage businesses who 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.
- 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.
- They use high-pressure sales tactics. Employee Retention Credit Gusto
- They are not affiliated with a reputable tax professional organization.
- You will be asked to provide your personal information or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activity and Protecting Personal Data
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.
Protecting personal information and financial data is equally important.Don’t give out your personal details to anyone who contacts without asking.You can find reviews of a company online, or you can contact the IRS if you’re unsure.
We have covered the Employees Retention (ERC) Credit in this article. This is a tax credit program that helps employers who qualify to retain their staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.We have explained the eligibility requirements, the claiming process, and the potential scams related to the ERC.
We have also provided tips and resources on 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.We encourage eligible employers to claim this credit and, if necessary, seek professional help.
Employee Retention Bonus Frequently Answered Questions
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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 receive the 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?
The wages that qualify as wages include salaries, wages, tips, and bonuses.
Employer-paid health insurance premiums also qualify as wages.
How can I claim my ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC by submitting an amended Form 941 to the IRS.The amended 941-X form must be filed in three years following the original 941 filing date.
Do I have to repay my ERC?
No, it is a refundable credit.
Can I claim ERC even if I have received a PPP Loan?
Yes, even if you have received a Loan Protection Program (PPP) for your business.
Businesses cannot claim the ERC for wages that were also used to claim the PPP loan.
Can self employed individuals claim ERC benefits?
Yes, individuals who are self-employed can qualify for the ERC.
Self-employed individuals can claim the ERC on their Schedule C form.
Can non profit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofit organizations are eligible for the ERC.
Nonprofit organizations may claim the ERC by submitting Form 990-T.
Can companies with a foreign subsidiary claim ERC?
Yes, businesses can claim the ERC for wages paid to employees of foreign subsidiaries.
There are a few additional requirements to meet before you can claim the benefit.
Are there any common mistakes made by businesses when claiming ERC that they should be on the lookout for?
Some common mistakes businesses need to watch out for when claiming their ERC include but are not limited to
- Incorrect credit calculation
- Inclusion of all eligible wages
- Failure to amend form 941 – X on time.