COVID-19, a pandemic that has affected businesses of all types and sizes, has forced many to either lay off staff or close their business.Employee Retention (ERC) Credit is available to businesses that need it.
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.
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.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 Partial Shutdown
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.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 are available to all businesses, even tax-exempt ones.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.
ERCs can be a major financial boost for companies that have suffered from pandemic effects.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 was established to assist businesses in keeping their employees employed so they can quickly reopen, resume normal operations and regain control of the situation once the pandemic has subsided.
ERC can be a major financial boost for businesses who have been affected by the pandemic.It can also assist businesses in retaining their employees. This is vital for a fast recovery.
The ERC is also a refundable credit. This means that businesses are able to claim it, even if there are no taxes due.Businesses can also claim the ERC for qualified wages paid to employees who are not working due to COVID-19, such as employees who are furloughed or quarantined. Employee Retention Credit Partial Shutdown
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.The ERC has helped many businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ERC was estimated to have saved 10 million jobs and prevented thousands of businesses from closing.It has also contributed towards the economic recovery through a boost in 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 primary difference between ERC requirements for 2020 and 2021 is a test of gross receipts decline.In 2020, the business must have seen a decline of gross receipts by at least 50% in comparison to the same quarter the year before.In 2021, the business must have suffered from a significant fall in gross sales of at least 20% when compared to same quarter in previous year.
Businesses can qualify for the ERC in two ways:
- 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 who have been ordered closed, to operate at a lower capacity, or to follow certain restrictions.
- 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 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:
An order of the government may suspend all or part of a program.
- ERC will cover a restaurant which is forced to close down by government orders.
- 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.
- ERC can be awarded to a manufacturer who cannot operate at full capability due to disruptions to the supply chain.
Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC), is a credit for businesses that can be claimed on qualified wages paid by employers to their employees during COVID-19.The amount of credit depends on the number of employees and the quarter.
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.
Claiming the Credit
How to Claim 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 can be filed for any quarter in which the business was eligible for the credit.
Claim the ERC in Advance
Businesses have three options to claim the ERC.
- Claim the credit ahead of time: Businesses may claim the credit by reducing the quarterly employment tax deposit.To do this, business must file IRS Form 7220, Advance Payment for Employer Credits & Taxes.
- 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.
- Businesses can ask for a refund if they have already paid the employment tax. They should file Form 941-X at the IRS.
Calculating the Credit Amount and Avoiding Double Dipping with Other Relief Programs
Multiplying qualified wages by the credit rate applicable, the ERC can be calculated.Credit rate is set at 50% for 2020 and 70% for the three first quarters of 2021.
Businesses should be aware of the dangers of double-dipping.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 should keep detailed records detailing all qualified wages paid by employers to employees over the ERC.This will help businesses to accurately calculate the amount of the credit they are eligible for and to support their claim if it is audited by the IRS. Employee Retention Credit Partial Shutdown
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 all the hours worked by your employees including holidays, sick days, and vacations.
- Track all employee wages, including bonuses, overtime, and base pay.
- Keep track of government orders affecting your business.
The IRS provides many resources to assist businesses in claiming the ERC. They include fact sheets, videos, and FAQs.Businesses can contact IRS for help by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Examples of Eligible Businesses
Businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic can apply for the Employee Retention Credit.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 who experienced a significant drop in sales
- Manufacturing companies are unable to reach full capacity because of supply chain disruptions
- Donations for nonprofit organizations are down
- Hotels and other hospitality businesses
- Travel and tourism businesses
- Entertainment and Event Businesses
- Personal care businesses
- Gyms & fitness studios
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores that sell non-essential products
- Businesses who were forced to operate with a reduced capacity
- Businesses forced to comply with new safety protocols
- Businesses that have experienced an increase in costs as a result 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 Partial Shutdown
Here are some examples of how companies have used the ERC in specific situations:
- 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.
- A retail outlet that suffered a 50% sales decline due to COVID-19, was able to use ERC to offset their payroll costs.
- ERC can be used by a producer who is unable operate at maximum capacity due to disruptions of the supply chain. This allows them to keep their employees and continue producing essential products.
- 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.
Contact a tax expert if you’re a business owner who is unsure if you qualify for the ERC.They can determine your qualification and help you claim the credit.
ERC Scams, Aggressive Marketing and Other Risks
Unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage businesses who qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.These scammers might use aggressive advertising tactics to convince businesses that they should sign up for their service, even though the business may not be eligible for ERC.
Warning Signs and Red Flags
Here are some warnings and red flags for identifying potential ERC fraudsters:
- They will refund you without looking at your records.
- The fees are high, or they take a large percentage of the refund.
- These salespeople use high-pressure tactics. Employee Retention Credit Partial Shutdown
- They are not affiliated with a reputable tax professional organization.
- They ask for your personal or financial information upfront.
Reporting Suspicious Activities and Protecting Personal Information
You should contact the IRS if you receive a call from an ERC scammer.You can report this activity by calling 1-800-829-1040.
Protecting your financial and personal information is also important.Do not give your personal information to anyone who contacts you unsolicited.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 discussed eligibility requirements, claiming processes, and possible scams related the ERC.
We’ve also included some resources and advice on recordkeeping.The ERC provides a valuable incentive that helps employers to reduce their payroll tax liability, improve the cash flow of their business, and provide support for their employees.If you qualify as an employer, please claim the ERC and get professional assistance if you require it.
Employee Retention Credit: Frequently Asked Questions
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What is ERC?
This is a tax credit that can be refunded to businesses who were affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
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 is eligible to apply for ERC?
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 is 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 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 need to repay the ERC?
The ERC does not require repayment by businesses. It is a tax credit that can be used to offset future taxes.
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 can’t claim ERC on wages they used for PPP loans.
Can self-employed people claim the 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.
Nonprofit organizations may claim the ERC by submitting Form 990-T.
Can companies that have a foreign subsidiary claim ERC benefits?Can companies who have a foreign branch claim ERC?
Yes, businesses can claim the ERC for wages paid to employees of foreign subsidiaries.
It is important to note that there are additional requirements for claiming the tax credit.
Are there mistakes that companies make in claiming ERCs?
You should be on the lookout for these common mistakes when businesses claim their ERC.
- The credit calculation is incorrect
- All wages are not included
- Failing to amend Forms 941-X within the specified timeframe.