The COVID-19 virus has wreaked havoc across all businesses, forcing some to shut their doors or layoff employees.But there is a lifeline available to help businesses stay afloat: the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).
It is a refundable credit that can be claimed by employers on certain wages paid to employees in the event of a pandemic.The ERC was created to ensure that businesses can continue to pay employees during a pandemic, even if their normal business operations are disrupted.
The ERC may be able to help keep your employees and business afloat if your company has been impacted.To find out more about ERC and to claim, you can either visit the IRS web site, speak with an advisor, or check 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 Large Employer
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 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.
The ERC is available to businesses of all sizes, including tax-exempt organizations.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 can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.It can assist businesses in retaining their employees, covering payroll costs, as well as investing in their future.
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 aims to help companies keep their staff on the payroll in order to quickly reopen after the pandemic is over.
The ERC can provide a significant financial boost to businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.The ERC can help businesses retain employees, which is crucial for a rapid recovery.
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 Large Employer
Impact of the ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC is credited with keeping millions of Americans at work during the COVID-19 outbreak.It has also helped businesses to stay afloat and weather the economic storm.
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.
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 will have to experience a significant decrease in gross revenues of at least 20 percent compared with the same quarter last 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 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 declines in revenue are defined as a decrease of at minimum 50% in 2020 quarters or at most 20% in 2021 quarters compared to same quarters the year before.
Examples and Scenarios
Below are examples and scenarios that illustrate each of the eligibility criteria:
Orders from the government can be used to suspend or fully suspend your work.
- ERC can be claimed by a restaurant forced to shut down due to an order from the government.
- 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.
- ERC is available to manufacturers who are unable to run at full capacity because of supply chain disruptions.
Employee Retention Credit is a tax deduction that businesses may claim on wages they paid employees in the COVID-19 pandemic.The amount varies depending on how many employees are employed and what quarter it is.
For 2020, the credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees up to a maximum of $10,000 per employee.For 2020, a business may receive a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee.
For the first quarters of 2021, the credit equals 70% of wages that are qualified. However, this is limited to $10,000 per quarter per employee.For the first 3 quarters in 2021, an employer could receive up to $7,000 per employee each quarter. That’s up $21,000 per worker for the whole year.
Claim the Credit
How to Claim the ERC on 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 by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses have three options to claim the ERC.
- Claim the credit in advance: Businesses can claim the credit in advance by reducing their quarterly employment tax deposits.To do so, businesses need to file IRS Form 7200, Advanced Payment of Employer credits and taxes.
- 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.
- 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 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 is 50% for 2020 and 70% for the first three quarters of 2021.
Businesses should be careful to avoid double-dipping with 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 should maintain detailed records of the wages they paid to their employees during the ERC.This will assist businesses in accurately calculating the amount they are entitled for as well as supporting their claim if the IRS audits it. Employee Retention Credit Large Employer
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 all the hours worked by your employees including holidays, sick days, and vacations.
- Keep track of all the wages that employees receive, including overtime, bonuses, and base wages.
- Keep track of government orders affecting your business.
The IRS offers many resources for businesses to claim the ERC. This includes FAQs and fact sheets.Businesses can also contact the IRS for assistance by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for the Employee retention credit (ERC).Following are some of the businesses that might be eligible to receive the Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants are forced to close by government order
- Retail shops that have experienced a substantial decline in sales
- Manufacturing companies are unable to reach full capacity because of supply chain disruptions
- Donations of nonprofit organizations declined
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism businesses
- Entertainment and event businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Salons, spas
- Retail stores selling non-essential goods
- Businesses who were forced to operate with a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety 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 Large Employer
Here are some specific examples of how businesses have used the 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.
- ERC allows a company to maintain its workforce and produce essential products despite being unable to run at full capacity.
- A nonprofit organization whose donations declined due to COVID-19 used the ERC to retain its employees and continue providing 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 help determine your eligibility as well as claim the credit for you if you’re eligible.
Risks of ERC Scams and Aggressive Marketing
Scammers are targeting businesses eligible for the Employee Retention Credit.Scammers will use aggressive marketing techniques to get businesses to sign up, even if they are not eligible for ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warnings and red flags for identifying potential ERC fraudsters:
- They will refund you without looking at your records.
- You will be charged high fees upfront, or a percentage of your refund.
- They use high-pressure sales tactics. Employee Retention Credit Large Employer
- They are not affiliated with a reputable tax professional organization.
- Some companies will ask for personal or financial details upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
If you have been contacted by an ERC scammer , you should notify the IRS .You can call 1-800-829-1040 for more information or go to the IRS web site.
Protecting your financial and personal information is also important.You should not provide your personal information to anyone contacting you uninvited.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 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 also have some tips and materials for documenting your records.The ERC can be a valuable benefit for employers, helping them reduce their employment taxes, improve their cashflow, and support their employees.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:
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What is ERC?
Businesses affected by COVID-19 can apply for a refundable income tax credit.
This credit is equal in value to 50% of wages qualified to be paid in 2020. It is also equal in value to 70% of wages qualified to be paid in the first 3 quarters of 2021.
Who can apply for the ERC program?
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 are qualified wages?
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 you claim your 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 need to repay the ERC?
The ERC is not a tax credit that needs to be repaid.
Can I claim the ERC if I received a PPP loan?
Yes, even if you have received a Loan Protection Program (PPP) for your business.
The ERC cannot be claimed for wages used to obtain a PPP loan.
Can self-employed individuals claim the ERC?
Yes, you can get the ERC if you are a self-employed individual.
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?
Yes, employers can claim ERC when they pay wages to foreign employees.
However, they must also meet certain additional requirements before they are eligible to claim the benefits.
Are there common mistakes that businesses make when claiming ERC to watch out for?
You should be on the lookout for these common mistakes when businesses claim their ERC.
- The credit calculation is incorrect
- Failure to include all qualified wages
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.