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).
The ERC is a refundable tax credit that businesses can claim on qualified wages paid to employees during the pandemic.It’s designed to help employers keep their employees, even if the business is unable to function 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.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 Maryland
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 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, in March 2020, to help companies keep their employees, despite being unable operate normally.
Businesses of all sizes can apply for the ERC, even those that are tax-exempt.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 retain their employees, cover payroll costs, and invest in their future.
Why was ERC formed?
The COVID-19 epidemic caused a severe downturn in the economy, which forced many businesses to close or lay off their employees.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.
ERC can offer a significant boost in financial support to businesses impacted negatively by the pandemic.It can also assist businesses in retaining their employees. This is vital for a fast 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 Maryland
Impact of the ERC on Businesses and the Economy
The ERC helped keep millions of Americans in employment during the COVID-19 Pandemic.It has also helped businesses to stay afloat and weather the economic storm.
The ERC is estimated to have saved over 10 million jobs and prevented hundreds of thousands of businesses from closing their doors.It has also contributed to the economic recovery by boosting consumer spending and investment.
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) can be claimed by businesses that have suffered a decline in gross sales or been suspended because of a COVID-19 government order.
The decline in gross revenues test is the major difference between the ERC 2020 and ERC 2021 requirements.In 2020 a business’s gross receipts must have declined by at least 50% from the same quarterly period of the previous 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.
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 Receipts: A business that has experienced a significant decline in its gross receipts due to COVID-19 is also eligible for the ERC.
You can use the following examples to demonstrate each eligibility criterion.
A government order can suspend a person’s rights in full or part
- 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:
- ERC can be awarded to a retail store that has experienced a 50% decrease in sales because 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 credit amount varies according to the quarter and number of employees of a business.
Credits for 2020 are equal to 50% the qualified wages paid by employees, up to a maximum amount of $10,000 per employee.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 the Credit
How to Claim the ERC on 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 may be used for any quarter that the business is eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC by Claiming it in Advance
Businesses have three choices for claiming ERCs:
- Claim your credit in Advance: Businesses can take advantage of the credit by reducing deposits made quarterly for employment tax.Businesses must submit Form 7200 to the IRS, Advance Payments of Employer Taxes and Credits.
- Businesses may also reduce their quarterly tax deposits on employment by the credit amount they expect.Businesses must submit Form 941 to the IRS, indicating the amount they want to reduce their deposit 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
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 should avoid double-dipping on other relief programs.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 Documentation
Businesses should keep detailed records detailing all qualified wages paid by employers to employees over 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 Maryland
Here are some tips on recordkeeping and documentation.
- Keep copies of all payroll records, including Forms 941 and W-2s.
- Keep track of the hours that employees work, including sick leave, vacation time, and holidays.
- Keep track of all wages paid to employees, including base wages, bonuses, and overtime pay.
- Keep track of any orders from the government that may affect 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 affected by the COVID-19 virus can claim an Employee Retention credit (ERC).Below are some business examples that may be eligible for Employee Retention Credit.
- Restaurants closed due to government orders
- Retail shops that have experienced a substantial decline in sales
- Disruptions in the supply chains prevent manufacturers from working at full capacity
- Nonprofit organizations that saw their donations decline
- Hotels and other hospitality enterprises
- Travel and tourism businesses
- Entertainment and Event Businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms & fitness studios
- Salons & spas
- Stores that sell non-essential merchandise
- Businesses required to operate under reduced capacity
- Businesses that are forced to implement 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 Maryland
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 allows a company to maintain its workforce and produce essential products despite being unable to run at full capacity.
- A nonprofit that saw their donations decrease due to COVID-19, was able to utilize the ERC and keep its employees employed to continue to provide vital services.
If you are an owner of a business and are unsure as to whether you are eligible for ERC, then I would encourage you contact a tax specialist.They can determine your qualification and help you claim the credit.
Risks of ERC Scams and Aggressive Marketing
Scammers are targeting businesses eligible for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers can use aggressive marketing strategies to convince companies to sign-up for their services even when they are not eligible to receive the ERC.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
Here are some warning signs and red flags to identify potential ERC scammers:
- They will refund you without looking at your records.
- They charge high fees upfront or take a portion of your refund.
- They use high-pressure sales tactics. Employee Retention Credit Maryland
- They are not affiliated to a reputable organization of tax professionals.
- They ask for your personal or financial information upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activity and Protecting Personal Data
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.
It is important to safeguard your personal and financial data.You should not provide your personal information to anyone contacting you uninvited.If you want to know if a particular business is legit, check online reviews. Or contact the IRS.
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 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.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 qualify as an employer, please claim the ERC and get professional assistance if you require it.
Employee Retention Credit Frequently Asked Questions:
Employee Retention Credit Maryland
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 include those who have seen a significant decrease in gross revenues or have been suspended fully or partly due to government orders resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
What is a qualified wage?
The wages that qualify as wages include salaries, wages, tips, and bonuses.
All wages that are qualified include health insurance premiums paid to the employer.
How can I claim my ERC?
Businesses can claim ERC by submitting an amended Form 941 to the IRS.The amended Form 941-X must be filed within three years of the date the original Form 941 was filed.
Do I need to repay 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).
Businesses cannot claim ERC for salaries that are also used as collateral to borrow PPP loans.
Can self-employed individuals claim the ERC?
Yes, you can get the ERC if you are a self-employed individual.
Self-employed persons can claim ERC by completing Schedule C.
Can nonprofit organizations claim ERC?
Yes, nonprofit organizations are eligible for the ERC.
Nonprofit organizations can claim the ERC on their Form 990-T form.
Can companies that have a foreign subsidiary claim ERC benefits?Can companies who have a foreign branch claim ERC?
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 common mistakes that businesses make when claiming ERC to watch out for?
The following are some common mistakes to avoid by businesses when claiming the ERC:
- Calculation error on credit
- The failure to include all qualifying wages
- Failure to amend form 941 – X on time.